Total online spending on Black Friday was $8.9 billion, down from sales of $9 billion in 2020, according to Adobe Analytics. Results came in at the low end of Adobe’s predicted range. Thanksgiving Day coming in flat year-over-year at $5.1 billion.
In a statement released Saturday, Adobe said this marks the first time where both days did not see an increase in online spending year-over-year, another sign that consumers started to shift their spending to earlier in the season, responding to promotions and deals from retailers that started in October.
“Yesterday, Americans spent $8.9 billion online. For the first time ever, Black Friday saw a reversal of the growth trend of past years. Shoppers are being strategic in their gift shopping, buying much earlier in the season and being flexible about when they shop to make sure they get the best deals,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights.
Cyber Week, including Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is still by far the strongest online sales days of the season, according to Adobe. Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest online shopping day of 2021, with between $10.2 billion and $11.3 billion in online spending.
Adobe said that on Small Business Saturday, consumers are expected to spend between $4.5 billion and $5.1 billion. So far this holiday season (November 1 to December 26), consumers have spent $89.9 billion and are on track to hit $207 billion, affirming Adobe’s forecast.
Additional Insights From Adobe Digital Economy Index:
- Small ($10M to $50M) versus large ($1B+) retailers: On Black Friday, large retailers benefitted from a larger boost in revenue than their smaller counterparts. Large retailers saw 22 percent higher growth in revenue on average than small retailers since October. Small retailers are under pressure to differentiate and offer enhanced customer service. A sale of a small retailer is typically at least 8 percent higher average order value (AOV) than a larger retailer.
- Out of Stock: Out of stock items remain an issue for consumers. As of November 26, consumers are seeing the highest out-of-stock alerts for the following categories: Appliances, Electronics, Housekeeping Supplies, and Home & Garden.
- Out-of-stock messages are up +124 percent in November (up to November 26) versus pre-pandemic levels (January 2020).
- Top selling product categories: Categories seeing the highest online spending this holiday season to date include: Toys (up 954 percent over pre-holiday levels of September), Books (up 671 percent), Video Games (up 648 percent), Appliances (up 617 percent), and Personal Care Products (up 553 percent).
- Apparel’s boost of 376 percent is largely driven by cold weather items, including outerwear (+720 percent), fleece (+1090 percent) and hoodies (+805 percent).
- Video games, toys and electronics were top sellers on Small Business Saturday: Just Dance 2022, Spider-Man Miles Morales, AirPods, 10.2 inch iPad, Oculus Quest 2, Samsung, TCL, Vizio TVs, Barbie toys, Baby Alive, and hoverboards were top sellers.
- Best days to buy: Today, Consumers can expect the biggest discounts on Appliances (-10 percent versus -17 percent last year) and Electronics (-12 percent versus -21 percent). Tomorrow, consumers will see heavy discounts on Sporting Goods (-9 percent versus –18 percent last year) and Apparel (-16 percent versus -20 percent), while shoppers looking for new TVs (-13 percent versus –18 percent) can expect the biggest price drops on Cyber Monday.
- Curbside pickup momentum continues: Curbside pickup continues to be a popular option for consumers looking to shop online to avoid shipping delays and opt for contactless pickup. In November, curbside pickup is up 70 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels (November 2019). On November 26, it was used in 20 percent of all online orders (for retailers who offer the service), slightly lower than in previous days.
- Buy now pay later (BNPL) growth: Usage of BNPLin November grew over the same period in 2019, with total spending via BNPL up 422 percent and volume of orders up 438 percent.
- Mobile shopping: Smartphones accounted for 44.4 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, up 10.6 percent year-over-year Smartphone visits accounted for a 62.2 percent share compared to desktop (up 2.2 percent year-over-year), showing again that consumers still prefer to browse on mobile but make their purchase on a desktop device.
- Record days: This holiday season, consumer spending has surpassed $2B every day so far, and there have been 19 days where spending exceeded $3B. For comparison, last year, at this point, there had just been five $3B days and twenty-two $2B days.
Photo courtesy Getty