Black Friday Hits a Record $9B Online, Stores Down 30%

Black Friday mobile commerce feature

As expected, Black Friday 2020 saw tremendous success online but was a bust in stores, as shopper behavior has been altered irrevocably by the ongoing pandemic.

According to Adobe Analytics, Black Friday hit a new high of $9 billion in ecommerce sales, up 21.6% from 2019’s figure of $7.4 billion, and the second-highest ever, after Cyber Monday 2019 which hit $9.4 billion. It was, however, near the low end of Adobe’s projected range of 20% to 42% growth this year as online sales have sent estimates soaring.

Meanwhile, store traffic was down an estimated 52.1%, based on data from Sensormatic Solutions, while RetailNext put the figure at 48%. RetailNext also said store spending fell about 30% on Black Friday, as apparel, footwear and jewelry all dropped more than 50%. CNBC reported that malls looked bleak and empty on Friday morning.

Where there was store shopping, consumers appeared to favor big boxes like Walmart, Target and Best Buy over traditional department stores like Macy’s and Kohls, with the former trending higher overall this year as shoppers consolidate trips and convenience wins. It wasn’t for lack of trying, as page after page of search results showed department store Black Friday deals in paid media on major publishers.

Adobe said U.S. consumers spent $6.3 million per minute online on Black Friday, or an average of $27.50 per person. Mobile once again was a huge winner, with $3.6 billion in sales coming from smartphones, up 25.3% from 2019 and accounting for 40% of total online spend.

Shopify’s 1 million-plus SMB and DTC merchants also had a very good Black Friday, with the company reporting $2.4 billion in ecommerce sales, up 75% from 2019, with more than two-thirds of it (67%) transacted on mobile devices. The average Black Friday cart value was $90.70 on Shopify, an increase of 11%.

Thanksgiving Day saw an ecommerce record set also, Adobe reported, with $5.1 billion spent online, up 21.5% from $4.2 billion in 2019 as most major retail chains were shuttered. Close to half of all sales were via mobile, at 46.5%, also a record. Offering curbside pickup is now officially table stakes, as those with the checkout option saw a 31% higher conversion rate from traffic to their sites, Adobe said.

This year’s Cyber Monday is expected to rush past last year’s mark and set a new one-day record, with Adobe calling for between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion in ecommerce sales, a growth range of 15% to 35%.

The Black Friday ecommerce figures would have been even higher had not retailers been aggressively pushing early deals in an attempt to flatten out demand as shipping capacity is over-maxed. The National Retail Federation said ecommerce sales were up 10.6% in October, while it said 42% of consumers started their holiday shopping earlier, based on a survey.

Stores were in play on Friday – for order pickup. BOPIS and curbside pickup increased 52% on Black Friday, Adobe said. The company’s estimates are based on analysis of one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, listing 100 million SKUs, and including 80 of the 100 largest U.S. retailers.

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