At a time when economists seem wary of making rosy predictions around consumer spending, the American shopper continues to upend expectations. Numbers will continue to roll in from the Black Friday holiday shopping weekend, but early indications point to this being a record-setting year for retailers. The number of shoppers – online and in store – as well as online spending soared to new heights, according to data from the National Retail Federation and Adobe Analytics.
There’s tons of information to unpack from those reports, but here’s a look at three of the most important – and staggering – bits of info to come from NRF and Adobe Analytics.
Over 200 Million Consumers Shopped
NRF had already predicted a strong turnout for the Black Friday weekend, but those numbers were left in the dust. According to the trade association’s survey, some 200.4 million consumers shopped over the five-day holiday weekend, surpassing last year’s record of 196.7 million.
Consumers were very active both in-store and online, but for the second (non-COVID) year in a row, more shoppers went digital. There were an estimated 121.4 million shoppers who visited a retail location during the weekend (down from 122.7 million last year), while 134.2 million did some online shopping (up from 130.2 million). Black Friday remained the most popular day for either form of shopping with 76.2 million consumers heading into a store and 90.6 million shopping online. Cyber Monday was the second-most-active day for online shopping with 73.1 million consumers taking advantage of those digital deals. Small Business Saturday was the only day during the period that in-store shopping outpaced online – but only just slightly with 59 million consumers visiting stores compared to 58.3 million who shopped online that day.
Online Spending Reached $38 Billion
With more consumers shopping online this year, it should come as no surprise then that online spending hit a new record high during the five-day period. According to Adobe Analytics, consumers spent roughly $38 billion between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, up 7.8 percent year-over-year. That figure was driven by record spending throughout the entire weekend. Thanksgiving online spend hit $5.6 billion, up 5.5 percent YoY; Black Friday reached $9.8 billion, up 7.5 percent YOY; Saturday/Sunday online spend totaled $10.3 billion, up 7.7 percent YoY; and Cyber Monday brought in a single-day record $12.4 billion, up 9.6 percent YoY.
Deep discounts helped drive that performance. Adobe’s data also showed that discounts reached record highs throughout the weekend (unless you were shopping at Target…). In particular, Cyber Monday deals peaked at 31 percent off listed price. Certain categories stood out as well, including computers (24 percent off), TVs (19 percent), furniture (21 percent) and appliances (18 percent).
Mobile shopping is also a fast-growing trend, according to Adobe. For the first time, mobile shopping overtook desktop during the weekend with 51.8 percent of consumers making purchases on their phones. Thanksgiving set a new bar for mobile shopping with 59 percent of online sales that day being made via a smartphone.
Average order value has grown modestly as well this year. For the holiday weekend, AOV was up 3.2 percent compared to last year. It’s up 2.7 percent YoY for the holiday period to date (November 1 – November 27).
Buy Now Pay Later Drives $940 Million in Sales on Cyber Monday
We’ve already detailed the growing importance of alternative payment methods on retail websites. The Black Friday weekend only reinforced the need to offer these options to consumers – especially Buy Now Pay Later. According to Adobe, BNPL contributed $940 million in online spend on Cyber Monday alone, up an incredible 42.5 percent YoY. Holiday season to date, BNPL has driven $8.3 billion in sales.
November is expected to be the biggest month on record for the payment method.