With Thanksgiving hitting a in online sales in the U.S., Black Friday easily surpassed that figure before the day was even done. Figures — which analyses 80 percent of online transactions to the 100 largest web retailers in the country to come up with its numbers — note that total sales as of 5pm Pacific time were $3.54 billion, up 15.6 percent year-on-year. Adobe estimates the whole day will reach $5 billion. (We’ll have final numbers later in the day and will update them then.)
That actually shows a slight slowing of the shopping pace online: at 7am Pacific, sales were at $640 million, up 18.4 percent compared to a year ago. This would make sense, since people also flock to physical stores to catch bargains there.
“Many retailers are still focused on in-store sales for Black Friday,” said Linda Bustos, director of merchant strategy at e-commerce platform provider Workarea (which also works with hundreds of online retailers). “The physical retailer’s star is still Black Friday, but the consumer behavior is smoothing out because consumers are opting out of the physical hustle and bustle and moving more toward what’s easier: shopping on a couch.”
While we are collectively seeing a larger volume of sales, on a per-sale level things are actually holding steady. The average order value so far is $134, which is up just 0.9 percent over 2016’s Black Friday.
The bigger shift is in how we are shopping. Purchases made on mobile devices have so far totalled a record $1.4 billion ($980 million smartphones; $400 million tablets), accounting for 39.8 percent of the total. Adobe says that 55.57 percent of all visits to sites have come from mobile, working out to growth of around 10 percent on both sales and traffic.
“The big story this holiday season is in mobile shopping. Retailers know this is where the audience is now and are delivering better experiences. On both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the gap between mobile traffic and revenue is closing,” said Mickey Mericle, VP of marketing and customer insights at Adobe. “Shoppers looking for discounts are getting better at using smartphones to quickly close the deal, and we are seeing better mobile conversion this season at over ten percent growth.”
Tablets, and the story of their decline in importance in shopping — especially as smartphones have gotten faster, easier to use and bigger — is an interesting trend. It’s also been going on for a while now, and if you could use its performance in e-commerce as a track for how much they are used overall, the picture is not that bright for tablets.
Another stat that should not come to a surprise to those who are familiar with consumer behavior on mobile concerns the platforms that are being used. iOS average order value continues to be higher than Android order value, and is also growing more: respectively it’s $127 (up 5.1 percent on 2016) and $112 for Android (up 1.5 percent). iOS also has a higher conversion rate of visits to purchases: 3.2 percent (up 10 percent YoY) versus 3.1 percent (up 8.1 percent YoY).
Collectively, e-commerce has generated $33.26 billion in sales so far in November (up 17 percent year-on-year), Adobe said.
Black Friday — and the subsequent pool of days that has spread around it — are significant for consumers because they get a chance to buy items at a deep discount to their normal prices. (Unless you subscribe to the school of “Hey, if you don’t buy anything, you get a 100 percent discount!”)
They are significant for online retailers because they set the pace and are a bellwether for the rest of November and December, traditionally the most important time of the year for their businesses to rack up holiday sales.
In terms of what is being purchased, Adobe highlights electronics like TVs and computers as two big sellers today, as are the Chromecast and Roku. Other top products it said include Apple AirPods, the Sony Playstation VR, the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One X.
We will continue updating this post as we find more numbers, from Adobe and others.
Featured Image: Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images