Black Friday sets new online sales record with $3.34 billion

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Black Friday 2016 saw an increased interest in online shopping, breaking last year’s record with a 21.6% growth. 

Mobile shopping has also been on the rise, turning Black Friday into a big online opportunity for retailers.

Adobe released its online shopping data for this year’s Black Friday after analysing 22.6 billion visits to retail websites and it noticed a great increase in online shopping, surpassing $3 billion spending for the first time, reaching $3.34 billion.

This is a 21.6% growth YoY and the profit gets even bigger if we also add the sales of $1.93 billion on Thanksgiving day.

Mobile revenue keeps growing

It’s interesting to examine the fact that $1.2 billion of the total spending occurred through a mobile device, noting a growth of 33% from 2015. This is the first time mobile revenue surpasses $1 billion, while the conversions have also been improved, with smartphones being at 2.4% and tablets at 4.6%.

According to Adobe, mobile accounted for 55% of visits to retail websites during Black Friday, with 45% of it coming from smartphones and 10% from tablets. Moreover, retailers who have invested in mobile, email, and social media saw an average increase in sales of 30% and also 25% higher average order values.

Additional findings

  • Top selling electronic products: Apple iPads, Samsung 4k TVs, Apple MacBook Air, LG TVs and Microsoft Xbox.
  • The biggest discounts were seen for tablets ( with an average discount of 25.4%), televisions (average discount of 23.2%), toys (15%), and computers (11.6%).
  • The products that were most likely to run out of stock were: Nintendo NES Classic, PlayStation VR bundle, PlayStation 4 Call of Duty Black Ops bundle, Beats Solo, Nintendo 3DS XL Solgaleo Lunala Black Edition, and Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Console Bundle.
  • Out-of-stock messages reached 10.5%, which is slightly less frequent than last year (1.5%).

Moreover, there was an interesting increase in sales coming from sites like RetailMeNot and CNET, counting a 16.5% share of sales, while email contributes to 17.8% of sales, with display and social following with 1.2% and 0.9% accordingly.

Search ads and direct traffic were the biggest contributors to overall sales, 38.3% and 25.3% accordingly, although search ads saw a decrease of 4.3% comparing to the holiday average.

Is Black Friday moving online?

Black Friday may be synonymous to shopping frenzy and long queues in stores, but apparently consumers are now flocking to websites, taking advantage of all the deals without visiting their local stores.

This can be justified by:

  • lack of time
  • ease of online shopping
  • growing expansion of ecommerce (and UX improvements)
  • equal online deals
  • rise of mobile

All these contribute to the growing trend of online shopping and Black Friday’s established status as a big retail opportunity means that ecommerce cannot be ignored.

However, does that alter the meaning of Cyber Monday? Is there a difference now between them, or are they turning into one big event of online sales?

Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director of Adobe Digital Insights said:

“With the full day total coming in at $3.34B Black Friday may have just dethroned Cyber Monday’s position as largest online shopping day of the year. Shoppers are still buying at higher than expected levels in the early morning hours of Small Business Saturday.”

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