Black Friday online sales top $9 billion
E-commerce grows 3.0% in Q3, setting the scene for Black Friday online sales to beat expectations at $9.1 billion.
- Ebere Anokute
Record-breaking Black Friday as online sales top $9 billion
Looks like I’m not the only one who had a Happy Thanksgiving. Despite inflation complicating the holiday shopping outlook, it appears consumers were still keen on taking advantage of Black Friday shopping deals, as the industry recorded growth across categories.
Just how much did sales increase? Well, it depends who you ask. According to Adobe, which tracks online sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, e-commerce sales for Black Friday reached $9.12 billion this year, a new record. This represents a 2.3% increase over last year, but does not account for in-store sales, which we know to be driven by massive sales and inventory pushes during the holiday weekend.
Mastercard SpendingPulse data offers a look at the broader spending picture. They’ve reported that overall Black Friday sales (in-store and online) increased by 12% year-over-year, slightly below the 15% growth they forecasted. Mastercard also recorded 12% annual growth for in-store sales, while arriving at 14% growth for e-commerce.
While Mastercard’s methodology remains unclear, they seem to achieve consensus with Adobe regarding individual category growth. The company reported increased sales in the apparel, electronics, and restaurant sectors, noting the transformation of holiday shopping into a full day experience. To me, that sounds like the kind of shopping that takes place at a mall or lifestyle center, so I expect to see strong foot traffic to these locations emerge as a surprise takeaway of the holiday shopping season. This essentiality of the shopping center during the holiday season is supported by a recent consumer survey from Placer.ai, which found that 52% of respondents considered the mall as one of their primary holiday shopping destinations.
Consumer Sentiment Survey Results* - October 2022
* based on responses of 1,200 consumers aged 18 and up to a online survey sent out on October 27, 2022
Although final numbers from the overall weekend are not yet available, Adobe is confident that the spending didn’t stop on Black Friday. They expect Cyber Monday spending to reach $11.2 billion, which would represent a 5.1% increase year-over-year. And based on some of the sales I’m seeing in my inbox right now… they might be on to something.
Third quarter e-commerce sales up 3% over Q2
The Black Friday online shopping boom comes on the heels of the Census Department releasing their third quarter e-commerce report, which found that total retail e-commerce sales grew by 3% over Q2 to reach $265.9 billion. This was a larger increase than overall retail sales, which grew by just 0.7% in Q3. E-commerce’s share of overall retail sales came out to 14.8% in the third quarter – a slight increase from previous quarters but still notably down from the peak of 16.4% seen in Q2 2020.
E-commerce sales rise slightly
With context, the data continue to suggest a normalization of this figure in the months since COVID. E-mail marketing for back-to-school sales was perhaps a potential driver of additional online traffic in the third quarter, but it was not enough to help sales break 15%.
E-commerce sales were up 9.1% on a yearly basis, indicating flat to moderate growth as the consumer price index showed a similar 7.7% increase over the same period in 2021.
At this point, I don’t think it would be crazy to assert that we’re approaching some sort of equilibrium in the in-store vs. online shopping demand equation. But hey, I’m just a humble retail researcher crunching a couple numbers. What do I know!