Ecommerce sales soar on Black Friday, while in-store sales grew just 1.1%

The trend: Retail sales returned to prepandemic growth patterns on Black Friday as ecommerce sales grew significantly faster than in-store sales.

The numbers: US retail sales (excluding automotive) grew 2.5% year-over-year (YoY) on Black Friday, with in-store sales increasing just 1.1% YoY and ecommerce sales rising 8.5% YoY, per Mastercard SpendingPulse.

  • Those online sales results are roughly in line with the 7.5% YoY jump reported by Adobe Analytics and the 9.0% YoY increase reported by Salesforce.
  • All three ecommerce growth figures outpaced our Black Friday ecommerce expectations of a 6.1% YoY gain as cost-conscious consumers snapped up steep discounts online.
  • Retailers slashed online prices on the day after Thanksgiving in several key categories, including toys (down 28.0% compared with October 1), electronics (down 26.9%), and apparel (down 24.2%), per Adobe Analytics.

Those bargains enticed the growing number of shoppers to open their wallets. Roughly 72% of holiday shoppers, or 130.7 million consumers, planned to shop on Black Friday, up from 69% last year, per the National Retail Federation.

  • The numbers bore that out as in-store traffic was up 4.6% YoY, per Sensormatic.

The takeaways:

  • Mcommerce gains momentum. Mobile devices drove 59% of online sales on Thanksgiving Day (accounting for $3.3 billion, up 14.0% YoY) and 54% on Black Friday ($5.3 billion, up 10.4% YoY) as more shoppers grow comfortable shopping on the go, according to Adobe Analytics. We expect mobile will account for 49.6% of ecommerce sales over the final two months of the year.
  • Alternative payment methods are helping consumers stretch their budgets. For example, buy now, pay later (BNPL) online orders jumped 72% the week of November 18 compared with the previous week. BNPL revenues rose 47% over the same period.
  • The Cyber Five (and Black Friday in particular) remain the heart of the holiday season. While an array of retailers launched high-profile sales to pull the holiday season into October, the highest concentration of sales take place over the Cyber Five. These five days remain the most important period during the holidays as NRF expected 182.0 million consumers to shop over the stretch—a marked 9.4% jump from the previous high of 166.3 million last year.

The big takeaway: Ecommerce is more important than ever this holiday season.

  • Our holiday forecast expects online sales to grow 11.3% in the final two months of the year. That will push ecommerce’s share of overall holiday sales to a record 19.3%—a 120-basis-point increase over last year. More notably, that share is 80 basis points higher than in 2020 when the pandemic pushed many consumers to shop online.

Go further: Read our Holiday Shopping 2023 report.


First Published on Nov 25, 2023