In a first indication of what to expect as we enter the heart of the 2022 holiday season, digital Black Friday sales hit record highs despite inflationary pressures, topping $9.1 billion and up 2.3% year-over-year according to data from Adobe Analytics. Salesforce recorded even bigger success, with its data indicating that digital sales grew 12.1% to $15 billion. Additionally, Bluecore saw an 11% increase in Black Friday site traffic, a 5% increase in orders and a 1% increase in average order values compared to 2021.
Mobile shopping once again played a major role on Black Friday, with 48% of digital sales coming from smartphones, up from 44% in 2021. Salesforce expects mobile to play a major role over the entire Thanksgiving Weekend period, with 78% of shoppers in the U.S. and 79% of shoppers globally utilizing the platform. Social accounted for 12% of all mobile traffic referrals.
However, the impact of rising prices was seen in how shoppers chose to pay. The use of buy now, pay later (BNPL) orders rose 78% between Nov. 19 and 25 compared to the week prior, according to Adobe. BNPL revenue was up 81% over the same period. BNPL usage was up 6% over Thanksgiving Weekend, but the average order value for BNPL decreased by 9%, according to Salesforce.
“As Black Friday hit record spending online, we’re also seeing more prominent signs of a budget-conscious consumer this year,” said Vivek Pandya, Lead Analyst at Adobe Digital Insights in a statement. “Shoppers are embracing the Buy Now Pay Later payment method more this year to be able to buy desired gifts for family and friends.”
Curbside pickup continued to play an important role, though its usage was affected by the growing number of retailers who stayed closed for Thanksgiving, according to Adobe. At retailers that offer the service, just 13% of online orders used curbside on Black Friday, compared to 21% in 2021. However, revenue from curbside fulfillment was up 54% and orders were up 35% for the week of Nov. 19 through Nov. 25.
Electronics were a major growth driver for the shopping holiday, with sales up 221% compared to the average day in October 2022, according to Adobe. Highlights in this category were smart home items (up 271%) and audio equipment (up 230%). Other major categories were toys (up 285%) and exercise equipment (up 218%).
Ecommerce activity is expected to remain strong through Cyber Monday, Nov. 28. Adobe expects more than $9 billion to be spent on Saturday and Sunday, with Cyber Monday driving an additional $11.2 billion in sales. Salesforce projected an additional $17.2 billion in spending over Saturday and Sunday.
“Online traffic and sales continued to gain momentum throughout Cyber Week, buoyed by U.S. consumers, who snagged great deals on Saturday and Sunday,” said Rob Garf, VP and GM of Retail at Salesforce in a statement. “We anticipate retailers continuing their aggressive discounting approaches on Cyber Monday as they make the final push to move inventory and free up cash.”