Mobile purchases dominate as Black Friday online sales surge to $9.8 billion, up 7.5% compared to last year

In brief: In a sign that the economy is improving and consumers are less afraid to spend money on non-essentials, a record $9.8 billion was spent on Black Friday, up 7.5% from a year earlier. More than half that amount came from mobile purchases, suggesting people are more willing to make impulse purchases.

Adobe’s insights into seasonal retail trends shows that during the holiday season so far (November 1 – November 24), which includes Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, $86.6 billion has been spent in the US on e-commerce shopping.

Black Friday alone brought in $9.8 billion in revenue. Speaking to CNBC, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, Vivek Pandya, said $5.3 billion of that amount came from digital purchases. It was a similar picture when looking at all the holiday spending to date: 49.42% was completed on mobile.

Pandya said influencers and social media advertising have made consumers feel easier about making purchases from their devices, helping fuel growth.

Black Fridays of bygone years was marked by scenes of shoppers crushing each other and fighting as hundreds waded into stores the second they opened. But the pandemic helped speed up the change to a more online experience, with retailers offering more deals and discounts via websites.

It’s noted that Adobe doesn’t track revenue that comes from in-store purchases, which according to Mastercard were up just 1% YoY. Online sales increased 8.5% compared to last year, further illustrating how more shoppers are abandoning brick-and-mortar stores in favor of online alternatives.

Total e-commerce spending for the holiday season, which includes today’s Cyber Monday sales and will extend through the rest of the year, is forecast to reach $221.8 billion. That’s up from the $210 billion generated in 2022 and $205 billion in 2021. While it can’t match the 8.6% growth seen two years ago, 2023’s 4.8% increase is still an improvement over the small 2.5% lift last year.

While increased yearly spending is good news for the economy and businesses, one sign that consumers are trying to avoid big individual purchases is the increase in Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) spending. BNPL purchases accounted for $6.5 billion during the holidays and $79 million during Black Friday, the latter marking a 47% increase compared to last year.

Adobe’s analysis comes from one trillion visits to US retail websites, 18 product categories, and 100 million unique items

Today’s Cyber Monday event is expected to generate around $12 billion in online spending. Make sure to check out some of our buying guides, highlighted deals, and best products in various categories.

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