Trends in Technology

Black Friday – Record Online Sales

December 7, 2017 by Bobby J Davidson
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Black Friday In the U.S and some other countries, Black Friday is one of the most awaited days of the year—mainly due to the massive price off items on the day. Most people delay buying what they want for weeks or even months just so they can buy it on Black Friday—for a discounted price of course. No wonder, sales of retail items soar on the day and this was evident this year as well. Not only did people throng to retail stores to buy all they desired, they also helped create a new online sales record!

In August, Forrester Research Inc—an American market research company, forecasted that holiday sales in 2017 will increase from $115 billion in 2016 to $129 billion. The actual figure was higher and a major reason for this was the record Black Friday online sales. Data unveiled by the retail intelligence unit of Salesforce—an American cloud computing company, shows a 24% increase in Black Friday online sales from the previous year. Compared to the $3.34 billion the previous year, online Black Friday sales this year reached an impressive $5 billion.

According to Salesforce, the online Black Friday orders placed using a desktop or laptop computer were 49% while 42% of the orders were made via a smartphone. 9% of the orders were placed through other devices. This is the first time in history that the online orders generated on Black Friday were less than half of the overall orders placed, representing a clear shift in the preferred shopping way of consumers.

Where the Money Went

Spending $5 billion within 24-hours, American shoppers created a new online sales record. According to Adobe Digital Insights, most of this spending or 80% of it was done at the 100 largest retail websites of the country. According to Amazon—a digital retail giant, orders rolled in at record levels on Black Friday. For instance, over two hundred thousand toys were sold online during the first few hours of the day—five to be precise. With most people preferring online shopping on Black Friday, the sales of the brick and mortar stores was impacted—with foot traffic at stores being 1% less than what it was the previous year.

According to Adobe, of all the Black Friday visits to retail sites and the online revenue generated on the day, 54.3% and 36.9 % respectively occurred on mobile devices. The American software company further revealed that tablets’ conversion rates on the day increased by 13% from the previous year while there was a 16.5% increase in the same for smartphones. As per the data of Adobe, the AOV was $135. However, Monetate—an American software company that offers personalized solution to brands, did a little better in this regard with AOV of $142.86.

According to Monetate that tracked two hundred million digital touchpoints across smart phones, tablets and desktops on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, its desktop AOV of $173.02 was the best of the lot. The company also reported a 30% increase in its mobile page viewership from the previous year’s Thanksgiving. Salesforce reports smart phones accounting for sixty percent of retail websites traffic—a 7% increase from the previous year. The cloud computing company extracted the numbers by tracking the online behavior of over 300 million shoppers. In a blog pertaining to sales on Black Friday, Salesforce revealed that the shoppers aren’t just browsing on phones, they are placing their orders from them as well—the 42% online orders placed via smart phones being a testament to that.

As already mentioned, e-commerce businesses experienced a 24% increase in Black Friday sales this year. And, the combined growth for Black Friday and Thanksgiving this year was 26%. However, the Black Friday stats don’t end there—there is more to come.

More Black Friday Stats

According to Shopify—an ecommerce giant, over five hundred thousand merchants that employ its services, this year performed the best they’ve ever done on Black Friday. Beating last year’s $555,716, over $1 million sales were made through Shopify each minute. This was revealed in an announcement by the company. According to Shopify, this year the percentage of mobile devices used to place orders with it on Black Friday were 66%–an increase of 8% from the previous year.

Performing brilliantly across all platforms, the Black Friday and Thanksgiving online sales of Rakuten Marketing were as good as those of the companies mentioned above. According to the company, it experienced a 23% overall online revenue growth this year on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day. The company further revealed its mobile revenue for the week: Sunday to Friday, grew by 43% this year—with AOV and purchases on smart phones up 7% and 34% respectively.

According to Rakuten, most of the purchase and sales activities on Thanksgiving and Black Friday happened during the afternoon. Studying ad engagement and click-through rates, the company discovered the aforementioned-activities peaked in the week leading to the holiday—with ad engagement and CTRs increasing by 111% and 154% respectively. The company says that consumers started searching and researching for products in advance before the holidays.  The trend of record online sales continued to Cyber Monday not just for Rakuten, but for all of the companies mentioned.

As far as holiday sales go, this year has been a year of records. In 2017, Black Friday, Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday records were broken. As seen above, online shoppers shopped almost impulsively on Black Friday, contributing to $5 billion sales on the day. Whether this record will be broken next year or any time soon remains to be seen but one thing is for sure: people have completely warmed up to the idea of making their holiday sales online.

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