Online spending totaled $8.9 billion on Black Friday, a number that was at the low end of expectations and slightly less than last year, according to the latest tally from the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
“For the first time ever, Black Friday saw a reversal of the growth trend of past years,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said in a report on U.S. e-commerce trends. Online spending last year on Black Friday totaled $9 billion.
This year, sales on Thanksgiving Day were flat at $5.1 billion, and the sluggish two-day performance was a “sign that consumers started to shift their spending to earlier in the season, responding to promotions and deals from retailers that started in October,” Adobe said.
Adobe predicted purchases of $10.2 billion to $11.3 billion on Nov. 29, or Cyber Monday, which the firm said is set to be the biggest online shopping day of the year. Adobe reiterated its prediction of $207 billion in consumer spending during the holiday season as a whole.
Shoppers returned to stores on Black Friday this year but traffic remained well below pre-pandemic levels, according to Sensormatic Solutions.
Visits to stores and shopping centers climbed 48% from a year ago while trailing 2019 traffic by 28%, Sensormatic said in a report Saturday. One reason this year’s gain wasn’t larger is that retailers spread out traffic peaks by starting holiday deals early, said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic.
“Everybody started earlier and, most importantly, the shopper started earlier,” he said. “Going back to pre-pandemic times, the holiday season very clearly started the week of Black Friday. You could bank on it.”
During the holiday season as a whole this year, in-store visits are expected to lag 2019 levels by only 10% to 15%, said Sensormatic, a unit of Johnson Controls International Plc. Despite COVID-19 concerns, research points to consumers prioritizing in-store shopping to avoid potential shipping delays amid well publicized logjams in the global supply chain, Field said.
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