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Black Friday Sets New U.S. Total Online Sales Record, Surpassed by Cyber Monday Days Later

Consumers continue to shop more online and from their mobile devices on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday with another record-setting year. Black Friday 2016 turned out to be the third largest desktop eCommerce shopping day of all-time in the U.S., but Adobe, including mobile commerce, estimated online Black Friday sales to reach $3.34 billion, surpassing even Cyber Monday from last year. Black Friday became the largest online shopping day in the U.S. including desktop, smartphone and tablet transactions, but this status was short-lived and soon surpassed by this Cyber Monday, when consumers spent $3.39 billion online across all devices.

According to comScore, from November 1st to Black Friday consumers spent over $24.5 billion online from PCs, a 12 percent increase from the corresponding time frame last year. Much of this increase in desktop eCommerce spending occurred on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, when eCommerce volume increased 17 and 19 percent, respectively, from 2015 levels. This included $1.29 billion in desktop eCommerce sales on Thanksgiving and nearly $2 billion spent on Black Friday. Adobe, which included mobile and tablet sales in addition to desktop eComerce, estimated total Black Friday online sales at $3.34 billion, a 22 percent increase from 2015. This marked the largest online shopping day in the U.S. of all-time, records that had previously been surpassed each Cyber Monday.

Other facts and figures from Black Friday show what retail segments performed well and what channels and incentives converted the most customers. In terms of desktop eCommerce sales, comScore says the Apparel & Accessories vertical had the most sales with nearly $500 million, while Toy & Hobby merchants enjoyed the largest year-over-year percentage growth. Playstation 4’s and 4k TVs have been among the most sold online items on Black Friday and so far this holiday season overall. Adobe found that desktop eCommerce had the highest conversion rates on Black Friday, at 5.5 percent compared to 4.6 percent for tablets and a 2.4 percent conversion rate for consumers shopping from smartphones. Despite the lower conversion rates, however, merchants can’t ignore the mobile channel. According to comScore, 90 million U.S. consumers accessed online retail sites via mobile on Black Friday compared to 52 million on desktop, while 26 million used both. Adobe estimates that mobile sales comprised more than one-third of U.S. online sales on Black Friday, reaching $1.2 billion.

Consumers shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday were also focused on getting the best deals. A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey found that 36 percent of shoppers from Thanksgiving through the weekend only made purchases of items that were on sale. According to comScore, over 70 percent of desktop eCommerce purchases over the entire holiday shopping season so far (beginning November 1st) have had free shipping.

As online shopping continues to increase on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, in-store retail sales continue to fall. The NRF estimates 99 million consumers went to physical retail stores this Black Friday, a decrease of 3 million from last year. This year the National Retail Federation did not include an estimate on total brick-and-mortar spending on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. According to retail analytics company RetailNext, net sales on Black Friday for brick and mortar merchants fell 10.4 percent from last year. This would put Black Friday in-store retail sales under $8 billion, meaning that online desktop sales account for nearly one-fifth of total retail spending on Black Friday.

As Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales continue to grow online at the detriment of brick-and-mortar, Black Friday is beginning to rival Cyber Monday as the largest online shopping day in the United States. As shown in the below graph, Black Friday continues to catch up to Cyber Monday in terms of total online sales in the U.S., including PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Despite being temporarily displaced by Black Friday, Cyber Monday was able to hold on to its crown as the largest online shopping day in the United States, amassing $3.39 billion in PC, smartphone or tablet online sales, compared to $3.34 billion on Black Friday. Mobile device sales accounted for $1.19 billion, more than one-third of total online sales on Cyber Monday. While Cyber Monday online sales increased over 10 percent from 2015, Black Friday, which grew by 48 percent year-over-year, has suddenly caught up.

The data shows Cyber Monday is still the single biggest online shopping day, but it is clear merchants need to focus on the entire Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday time period, as each of these are billion-dollar online shopping days. Additionally, the fact that mobile made up more than one-third of total sales on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday underscores the importance of a dedicated mobile payments and risk strategy.

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