Adobe Data Shows Early Holiday Shopping Killed Black Friday Online Sales Growth in 2021
As part of the Adobe Digital Economy Index, Adobe provides some of the most comprehensive insight into eCommerce sales by analyzing direct consumer transactions online.
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Based on Adobe Analytics data, the analysis covers over one trillion visits to US retail sites, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories.
Adobe shows that total online spending on Black Friday was $8.9 billion, which is at the low end of Adobe’s predicted range and slightly lower than 2020 ($9B).
With Thanksgiving Day coming in flat Year-over-Year (YoY) at $5.1 billion, this marks the first time where both days did not see an increase in online spending YoY.
This is another sign that consumers had started with holiday shopping earlier in the season, responding to promotions and deals retailers started as early as October.
“Yesterday, Americans spent $8.9 billion online. For the first time ever, Black Friday saw a reversal of the growth trend of past years. Shoppers are being strategic in their gift shopping, buying much earlier in the season and being flexible about when they shop to make sure they get the best deals.”Vivek Pandya, Lead Analyst, Adobe Digital Insights
Cyber Week, including Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, are still by far the strongest online sales days of the season. Adobe expects Cyber Monday to be the biggest online shopping day of 2021, with between $10.2B and $11.3B in online spending.
On Small Business Saturday, consumers are expected to spend between $4.5B and $5.1B. So far this holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 26), consumers have spent $89.9B and are on track to hit $207B, affirming Adobe’s forecast.
Additional Insights From Adobe Digital Economy Index
Small ($10M – $50M) vs. large ($1B+) retailers: On Black Friday, large retailers benefitted from a significantly larger boost in revenue than their smaller counterparts. Large retailers saw a 22% higher growth in revenue on average than small retailers since October. Small retailers are under pressure to differentiate and offer great customer experiences. A sale of a small retailer is typically of at least 8% higher average order value (AOV) than a large retailer.
Out of Stock: Out-of-stock items remain an issue for consumers. As of Nov. 26, consumers are seeing the highest out-of-stock messages for the following categories: Appliances, Electronics, Housekeeping Supplies and Home & Garden. Inventory challenges persist with out-of-stock messages up +124% in November (up to Nov. 26) vs. pre-pandemic levels (Jan. 2020).
Top selling product categories: Categories seeing the highest online spending this season so far, include: Toys (up 954% over pre-holiday levels of September), Books (up 671%), Video Games (up 648%), Appliances (up 617%), and Personal Care Products (up 553%). Apparel’s boost of 376% is largely driven by cold weather items; outerwear (+720%), fleece (+1090%), and hoodies (+805%).
Best Days to Buy: Today, consumers can expect the biggest discounts on Appliances (-10% vs. -17% last year) and overall Electronics (-12% vs. -21%). Tomorrow, consumers will see heavy discounts on Sporting Goods (-9% vs. –18% last year) and Apparel (-16% vs.-20%), while shoppers looking for new TVs (-13% vs. –18%) can expect the biggest price drops on Cyber Monday.
Curbside pickup momentum continues: Curbside pickup continues to be a popular option for consumers looking to shop online to avoid shipping delays and opt for contactless pickup. So far in Nov., curbside pickup is up 70% compared to pre-pandemic levels (Nov. 2019). On Nov. 26, it was used in 20% of all online orders (for retailers who offer the service), slightly lower than in previous days.
Buy now pay later (BNPL) growth: Usage of BNPL so far in November has grown substantially over the same period in 2019, with total spending via BNPL up 422% and volume of orders up 438%.
Mobile shopping: Smartphones accounted for 44.4% of all online sales on Black Friday, which is up 10.6% YoY. Smartphone visits accounted for a whopping 62.2% share compared to desktop (up 2.2% YoY), showing again that consumers still prefer to browse on mobile, but make the purchase on a desktop device.
Record days: This holiday season, consumer spend has surpassed $2 billion every day so far, and there have been 19 days where spending exceeded $3 billion. For comparison, last year, at this point, there had just been five $3 billion days and twenty-two $2B billion days by this point.
In addition to this summary, Adobe also provides live updates on this weekend’s online sales here for those interested to follow along with how the busy shopping weekend unfolds.
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Editorial Note: This post is from a Company Press Release and may have been modified for clarity.