The holiday season has officially begun, and so has the shopping.
Despite rampant inflation and looming recession fears, Black Friday sales hit record highs this year, surpassing $9.12 billion on Friday alone, according to Adobe Analytics. The research found that sales were 2.3% higher than last year, with electronics, toys and apparel being the top categories for bargain hunters.
Also, where consumers looked for Black Friday deals has changed from last year’s pattern. Though Amazon was the most searched-for retailer on Black Friday in 2021, the e-commerce giant finished fourth this year, according to tech company Captify, CNBC reported. Walmart took the lead this year and dominated the search for those looking for the best Black Friday deals. After Walmart, retailers Target and Kohls were second and third respectively, with Amazon in fourth place, according to Captify.
Related: Online scams are more sophisticated than ever. Here’s how to shop safely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to a Cyber Intelligence expert.
However, big-box retailers weren’t the only ones racking up sales records over the Thanksgiving weekend. Shopify reported that its merchants broke records this Black Friday with $3.36 billion in sales.
“Black Friday Cyber Monday has become a real shopping season. The weekend that started it all is still one of the biggest shopping events of the year, and our merchants have broken Black Friday sales records Friday still,” Shopify President Harley Finkelstein said in a statement.
While robust spending at the start of the holiday season may indicate consumer confidence, some analysts say Americans have dipped into savings and are opting for “Buy Now, Pay Later” options to afford purchases.
Related: Why can’t we resist Black Friday and Cyber Monday? A behavioral economist explains the psychological forces that make sales irresistible.
“We’re seeing a lot of people leaning on savings and debt to afford a lot of these purchases,” Morning Consult retail and e-commerce analyst Claire Tassin told CNN. “Even more than credit cards, we’re seeing a lot of people relying on ‘Buy Now, Pay Later,’ which is kind of a new form of debt that American consumers are really embracing.”
Still, Americans are eager to get back to holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales to be between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion, up 8 percent from last year.
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