Holiday Shopping Season Recap

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Holiday Shopping Season Recap

Now that the BIG holiday weekend in retail is in our rearview mirror, many of our customers ask the same question: How did it compare in the industry? Given the late Thanksgiving this year, it’s been noted, in similar past years with the late holiday, that sales tend to get pushed up which can mean softer sales on the big shopping weekend. However, experts have weighed in on what turned out to be a record-breaking weekend!

Here are some Black Friday Weekend Results we thought you’d enjoy! Thanks to Forbes, Practical Ecommerce and others for the information.


E-commerce retailers killed it this Black Friday, with digital sales up nearly 20%, reaching $7.4 billion across the 4,500 retail websites that Adobe Analytics tracks. It became the second-largest online shopping day in history, eclipsed only by Cyber Monday last year, when $7.9 billion in sales were done.

Adobe predicts Cyber Monday 2019 will blow last year out of the water, to the tune of $9.4 billion in sales, a nearly 20% increase.

Not only did consumers shop more online, but they also sidestepped the wait for delivery in record numbers, driving a 43% uptick in buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) orders, a sign the company said of retailers “successfully bridging online and offline retail operations.”

The average order value for the tracked online retailers also showed a boost, up 6% to $168, as Adobe remarked that “consumers got more comfortable buying more and bigger ticket items online.”

Pracitcal Ecommerce

Thanksgiving Commentary

Thanksgiving Day’s record online sales of $4.2 billion in the U.S. represent a 14.5 percent increase from 2018, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.

Some of the most popular purchased items included Disney’s Frozen 2 toys, Apple AirPods, and Samsung televisions. Forty-five percent of all sales came from smartphones, a 24.4 percent increase over last year’s 33.5 percent share. Consumers also spent a good deal of time browsing on smartphones, clocking 63.4 percent of all visits.

Among the national retailers open on Thanksgiving were Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl’s, and Walmart. J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and Target had limited hours, and in general no large crowds were waiting to get into stores.

Black Friday Commentary

According to Adobe Analytics, consumers spent $7.4 billion online, an increase of $1.2 billion over Black Friday 2018, making it the biggest Black Friday ever for digital sales. Average order value — at $168 — was up nearly 6 percent year-over-year and also set a new Black Friday record. However, online revenues were slightly under Adobe’s $7.5 billion prediction for the day.

Smartphone sales on Black Friday, at $2.9 billion, were the largest ever for mobile shopping and were up 21 percent over last year. Sixty-one percent of all traffic came from mobile devices, and 39 percent of all eCommerce sales were made on a smartphone. Larger eCommerce merchants received more sales via smartphones than smaller ones. Black Friday sales for buy-online-pickup-in-store outperformed non-BOPIS by 64 percent.

Cyber Monday Commentary

Based on Adobe Analytics data, a record $9.4 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday, an increase of 19.7 percent from 2018. It was the largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S., easily surpassing last year’s $7.9 billion. After 10 p.m. on Cyber Monday proved to be a popular time to shop, generating almost 30 percent of total revenue. Mobile transactions soared, with $3.1 billion — 33 percent — of total online sales coming from smartphones. That is 46 percent more than in 2018.

Consumers apparently did not want to wait to receive their orders; instead, they opted for BOPIS, driving a 43-percent increase in such orders over last year. Cyber Monday conversions at BOPIS retailers outperformed non-BOPIS retailers by 45 percent, according to Adobe.

Top sellers on Cyber Monday were Frozen 2 toys, L.O.L. Surprise Dolls, NERF products, Madden NFL 20 video game, Nintendo Switch, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order game, Samsung TVs, Fire TV, AirPods, and Air Fryers.

According to Adobe Analytics, both large retailers (over $1 billion in yearly revenue) and small retailers (less than $50 million) did well on Cyber Monday. Big box retailers saw a 540-percent surge in sales over an average day, while smaller merchants garnered a 337-percent increase.

While not providing revenue data, Amazon stated that Cyber Monday 2019 was its biggest shopping day ever based on the number of items sold globally. The company revealed that its biggest selling items were Keurig coffee makers, Oral-B electric toothbrushes, Champion fleece hoodies, and Amazon devices such as the Echo Dot.

Marketing Channels

Throughout the holiday season, paid search has ranked highest for driving revenue, representing a 24.4-percent share of sales, followed by direct traffic at 21.2 percent, and natural search at 18.8 percent. Email has seen an uptick at 16.8 percent, up 9 percent over 2018. Social media continues to have minimal impact on driving online sales with only a 2.6-percent share.

Shopping Channels – Mobile was HUGE!

Thanks to social media shoppability and retail apps, consumers did more Black Friday spending on their phones than ever before, and that started in force on Thanksgiving, when the proportion of U.S. digital sales grew 17% to $4.1 billion, according to Salesforce.

Mobile orders increased 35% on Black Friday this year, with 65% of all e-commerce flowing through a mobile device, Salesforce also found. Of the more than $900 million total sales made by Shopify merchants, 69% of purchases were made on mobile, with the remaining 31% on desktop.

Adobe called Black Friday “the biggest day ever for mobile,” tracking $2.9 billion in sales from smartphones alone, or 39% of all e-commerce sales, a 21% increase from last year. The percentage of online traffic from smartphones rose 15.8% from last year to 61%, Adobe also found. Unsurprisingly, e-commerce giants (those with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue) outperformed their smaller counterparts (those with less than $50 million) with smartphone revenue share that was 11% higher and 66% more efficient at converting mobile visits into sales.

The trend continued through Saturday, when smartphones drove 41.2% of all e-commerce revenue, 22.2% more than last year. That’s “slightly higher” than the 35.9% that has been more typical of this year, Adobe said.

“Black Friday broke mobile shopping records with $2.9 billion spent through smartphones alone,” Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst and head of Adobe Digital Insights​, said in a statement, noting that the imminent arrival of Christmas in this shortened season makes jumping on the phone preferable to standing in line. “Even when shoppers went to stores, they were now buying nearly 41% more online before going to the store to pick up.”

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