Black Friday online sales top $9 billion in new record

A fast moving conveyor moves packages to delivery trucks during operations on Cyber Monday at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, November 29, 2021.
Mike Segar | Reuters

Consumers spent a record $9.12 billion online shopping during Black Friday this year, according to Adobe, which tracks sales on retailers’ websites.

Overall online sales for the day after Thanksgiving were up 2.3% year over year, and electronics were a major contributor, as online sales surged 221% over an average day in October, Adobe said. Toys were another popular category for shoppers, up 285%, as was exercise equipment, up 218%.

Many consumers embraced flexible payment plans on Black Friday as they continue to grapple with high prices and inflation. Buy Now Pay Later payments increased by 78% compared with the past week, beginning Nov. 19, and Buy Now Pay Later revenue is up 81% for the same period.

Some of this year’s hottest items included gaming consoles, drones, Apple MacBooks, Dyson products and toys like Fortnite, Roblox, Bluey, Funko Pop! and Disney Encanto, according to the report.

Black Friday shoppers also broke a record for mobile orders, as 48% of online sales were made on smartphones, an increase from 44% last year.

The record-breaking spending comes on the heels of a strong day of Thanksgiving shopping, in which consumers shelled out an all-time high of $5.29 billion online, up 2.9% year-over-year. Typically, shoppers spend about $2 billion to $3 billion online in a day, according to Adobe. 

For retailers, these numbers may be a promising indicator of the coming weeks. Early holiday forecasts have been muted, and Target, Macy’sNordstrom and other retailers reported a lull in sales in late October and early November. Consumer sentiment has also weakened in the past month as inflation hovers near four-decade highs.

Though Black Friday is over, e-commerce activity will remain strong through the weekend, according to Adobe’s report. Adobe expects consumers to spend $4.52 billion on Saturday and $4.99 billion on Sunday, ahead of the year’s biggest online shopping day, Cyber Monday.

This year, Cyber Monday is expected to drive $11.2 billion in spending, up 5.1% year-over-year, according to Adobe.

Sophie Tremblay

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