Black Friday sales rise 12% YoY

The trend: Consumer spending looks strong this holiday season, despite a challenging economic climate.

The data: Mastercard SpendingPulse reports that US retail sales on Black Friday rose 12% year-over-year (YoY) excluding automotive, with in-store sales increasing 12% YoY and retail ecommerce sales growing 14% YoY.

  • That said, there is some discrepancy across data providers as Adobe Analytics reported more muted results with retail ecommerce sales rising 2.3% year-over-year (YoY) to $9.12 billion, following a 2.9% YoY increase in retail ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving day to $5.29 billion.

The takeaways:

  • Steep discounts spurred consumers to spend. Across all retailers, Black Friday discounts for apparel peaked at 13.8%, electronics 23.4%, and toys 31.8%, per Adobe.
  • Economic uncertainty drove many to alternative payment methods. For example, buy now, pay later (BNPL) orders jumped 78% the week of November 19 compared with the previous week. BNPL revenues rose 81% over the same period.
  • More people than ever are shopping over the Cyber Five. Roughly 166.3 million people, 8 million more than last year and 1 million more than in 2019, planned to shop over the five-day stretch that runs from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, per NRF.
  • Those gains came even though the majority of holiday shoppers, 60%, started browsing and buying for the season by early November, per NRF. That early start to the season stemmed from Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers featuring high-profile sales that pushed consumers to start their holiday shopping in October.

Reaching a plateau: Insider Intelligence expects consumer spending to remain strong this holiday season with 7.0% growth bringing the total to $1.297 trillion. While that would mark the third-straight year that gains reached at least into upper-single digits, much of this year’s increase will stem from inflation.

  • With demand pulled forward into October and early November, Insider Intelligence expects the growth rates for the Cyber Five to fall short of overall holiday season growth. That said, we expect Cyber Monday will rank as the top online spending day of the year, with $11.84 billion in ecommerce sales.
  • Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar retail is more vibrant than it has been in years as in-store traffic rose 2.9%, per Sensormatic Solutions. That growth was expected as a pre-Thanksgiving weekend survey by NRF found 67% of Black Friday shoppers expected to head to stores, a 3 percentage point increase from last year.

Looking ahead: Despite high inflation and consumer sentiment sitting near all-time lows, many consumers remain fairly well off thanks to low unemployment, solid job growth, and rising wages.

  • While wallets won’t stretch as far this year, there are enough discretionary dollars available to support strong holiday demand.
  • That bodes well for the rest of the holiday season as it appears consumers are chomping at the bit to buy when they spot a good deal.
  • While the longer-than-ever holiday season likely means that the rest of the period won’t be as frenzied as in years past, consumers will soon be shifting their focus to brick-and-mortar via in-store shopping and click-and-collect orders.

Go further: Read our full US Holiday Shopping 2022 report.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Retail & Ecommerce Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the retail industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.