Thanksgiving Ecommerce Sales Hit Record $3.7B, Up 28% from 2017

Online sales on Thanksgiving Day totaled a record $3.7 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, up 28% from last year, making it the fastest growing retail day in ecommerce history.

It was also a very mobile-friendly holiday, with orders from smartphones representing more than a third of all ecommerce sales – 36.7% – and driving the most traffic to merchant sites at 54.4%, Adobe reported.

Helping drive this trend is the increased optimization of retailers’ browsing and checkout on smartphones, Adobe said, resulting in 5.2% shorter smartphone visits on Thanksgiving compared to last year.

Thanksgiving also marked the first day of the peak holiday season with $1 billion in sales from smartphones. In 2017, there was more than $1 billion in sales on Cyber Monday.

Consumers are also spending more this year, Adobe reported, with average order value up 8% vs. Thanksgiving Day last year.

Adobe is projecting total ecommerce sales on Black Friday of more than $6.4 billion, up from an earlier forecast of $5.9 billion. Through 10 a.m. ET on Black Friday, Adobe pegged ecommerce spending at $643 million, up 28% from last year’s pace. This is impressive considering the amount of sales that were pulled forward from a number of early promotions, including from Walmart and Nordstrom.

The convenience of Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) was a huge hit on the first official day of the holiday shopping season, Adobe found, with shoppers nearly doubling the amount of these orders from Wednesday to Thursday, up 91%.

In terms of conversion rates, desktop and tablets both converted at 4.3%, up 2.6% and 5.4%, respectively, Adobe found, followed by smartphones at 2% but up an impressive 7.6% from 2017.

Thus far from the beginning of November until now, direct site traffic is driving the highest percentage of overall ecommerce sales at 27.2%, up 0.2%, followed by paid search (24%, up 6%), natural search (20.9%, down 5.7%) and email (20.3%, up 2.8%).

In terms of small-to-medium merchants, Shopify, with 600,000 ecommerce sellers on its platform, reported more than $250 million in sales on Thanksgiving, with more than $465,000 per minute at the peak or $17 million per hour being logged. The average order size on Shopify for Thanksgiving was $82.27, and apparel items took the top 5 spots in overall sales. Shopify said 21.2% of ecommerce orders on its platform were being shipped cross border.

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