Black Friday and Cyber Monday Wrapup: E-Commerce Sets Records

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KEY POINTS

  • The preliminary results for the Thanksgiving–Cyber Monday sales period have been positive overall, and have boosted retailers’ confidence with regard to the 2017 holiday shopping period. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reaffirmed its 3.6%–4.0% holiday sales growth projection.
  • Online sales on key dates broke records: Thanksgiving Day online sales totaled $2.9 billion, up 18.3% from 2016 and beating expectations of $2.8 billion, according to Adobe. Black Friday online sales totaled $5.0 billion, up 16.9% from 2016.
  • Store traffic outperformed year-to-date trends, according to ShopperTrak, which reported that traffic on Black Friday declined by 1% year over year, while traffic over the two-day Thanksgiving–Black Friday period declined by 1.6%.
  • Cyber Monday hit new records this year, with $6.59 billion in online sales and an 11.9% year-over-year increase in online traffic, according to Adobe. Cyber Monday’s one-day online sales accounted for more than 13% of the total $50 billion in online sales that retailers have seen so far this holiday season, according to the firm.
  • While a strong Thanksgiving weekend boosted retailers’ confidence, there is still plenty of time left for consumers to shop this holiday season. Looking ahead, there are still 10 of the busiest shopping days left before Christmas, including Super Saturday and three other Saturdays. Adobe forecasts that online sales will total more than $2 billion on 18 days during the holiday shopping season this year, with 13 of those days still to come.

Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping Results Exceed Expectations

The preliminary results for the Thanksgiving–Cyber Monday sales period have been positive overall, and have boosted retailers’ confidence regarding the 2017 holiday shopping season. Metrics such as online sales and number of shoppers exceeded expectations, and store traffic outperformed year-to-date trends. In addition, the NRF has reaffirmed its 3.6%–4% holiday sales growth projection.

Some key statistics from the five-day, Thanksgiving–Cyber Monday shopping period include:

  • Online sales on key dates broke records: Thanksgiving Day saw $2.9 billion in total online sales, up 18.3% from 2016 and beating expectations of $2.8 billion, according to Adobe.
  • Black Friday generated an additional $5.0 billion in online sales, up 16.9% from 2016, according to Adobe.
  • Adobe estimated as of 10 p.m. on Cyber Monday that online sales for the day would total $6.59 billion, up 16.8% year over year.
  • Sales generated from mobile devices accounted for 33.1% of total online sales on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe.
  • Store traffic on Black Friday declined by 1% year over year, while the Thanksgiving–Black Friday period saw a 1.6% decline in traffic, according to ShopperTrak.
  • More than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the Thanksgiving–Cyber Monday holiday weekend, beating expectations of 164 million, according to a survey by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
  • The average shopper spent a total of $335.47, with $250.78 of that going toward gift purchases, according to the same survey.

The table below summarizes key metrics for various days over the Thanksgiving weekend shopping period, and compares them with metrics from Alibaba’s Singles’ Day shopping festival in China, which was held on November 11.

Cyber Monday Remains the Biggest Online Shopping Occasion in the US, Hitting Record Sales Again This Year

Cyber Monday remains the biggest online shopping occasion in the US, beating out Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Amazon’s Prime Day, and it hit new records this year: Adobe estimated as of 10 p.m. on Cyber Monday that online sales for the day would total $6.59 billion and that online traffic would be up 11.9% year over year. The one-day sales figure accounted for more than 13% of the total $50 billion in online sales registered so far this holiday season, according to Adobe. Mobile devices generated 47.4% of total online traffic and accounted for 33.1% of total online sales on Cyber Monday, according to the firm.

In the East, Cold and Dry Weather Benefited Seasonal Apparel Categories and Drove Store Traffic

According to analysis from Planalytics, a lack of rain and snow across the US encouraged consumers to visit retail stores over the Thanksgiving–Black Friday period. Thanksgiving 2017 was the driest Thanksgiving since 2014 and Black Friday was the driest since 1999. The four-day Thanksgiving weekend (ending Sunday) was the driest in more than 20 years.

Cold temperatures in major markets in the eastern US benefited sales of seasonal apparel categories such as coats, scarves and gloves. Most eastern markets, including New York, Boston and Baltimore, as well as Chicago, experienced their coldest Thanksgiving since 2014, according to data from Planalytics.

Meanwhile, western markets saw their warmest Thanksgiving weekend in many years. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas enjoyed a weekend that was warmer by approximately 10°F to 15°F than the same period last year. In these markets, shoppers likely switched some purchases from cold-weather apparel to nonseasonal categories such as electronics and home goods.

Industry Is Cautiously Optimistic About the Rest of the Holiday Shopping Season

While a strong Thanksgiving weekend boosted retailers’ confidence, there is still plenty of time left for consumers to shop before the holidays. Retailers will need to continue to engage shoppers with the right merchandise and experiences to ensure a successful holiday season.

Looking ahead, there are still 10 busy shopping days left before Christmas, including Green Monday and Super Saturday, and there are four Saturdays in total left before Christmas this year. Adobe projected that online sales will exceed $2 billion on 18 separate days this holiday season, with 13 of those yet to come.

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