Discounts Drive Record-Breaking Black Friday, Cyber Weekend Spending

Discounts drove another year of record-breaking spending this Black Friday and Cyber Weekend.
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As Cyber Monday sales continue to roll in, Cyber Week appears to have allayed retailers anxieties by delivering another year of record consumer spending, according to Adobe Analytics. Online spending on Black Friday came in above projections, at $9.8 billion (up 7.5% YoY); Thanksgiving drove $5.6 billion in online sales (up 5.5% YoY); and Adobe is predicting that Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of all time with a sales forecast between $12 billion and $12.4 billion

And that strong consumer spending is being driven by net-new demand, not inflation-impacted higher prices as many had feared, with Adobe’s Digital Price Index showing that ecommerce prices have actually fallen consecutively for 14 months (down 6% YoY in October 2023). While Adobe figures are not adjusted for inflation, the company said that if online deflation were factored in, growth in consumer spend would be even stronger.   

“An uncertain demand environment pushed retailers to deliver big discounts this season, while also fortifying their ecommerce services with flexible payment methods, better personalization and enhanced mobile functionality,” said Vivek Pandya, Lead Analyst at Adobe Digital Insights in a statement. “Consumers have taken note and spent at record rates during the big shopping days, despite dealing with rising costs in other parts of their lives.” 

Data from Salesforce is even more encouraging, with that firm’s numbers showing Black Friday online sales of $16.4 billion in the U.S. and $70.9 billion in globally, driven by the “steady drumbeat” of discounting. These numbers represent an 8% YoY increase globally and a 9% increase in the U.S., with footwear, health and beauty and skincare among the highest-performing verticals. Discount rates rose to 28% globally and 30% in the U.S., representing the best deals of the holiday season so far.


“Black Friday online sales performance exceeded any retail executive’s expectations,” said Rob Garf, VP and GM of Retail at Salesforce in a statement. “Retailers stepped up their discounting game and shoppers, in turn, clicked the ‘buy’ button.”

All told.Adobe expects Cyber Week (covering the days days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) to generate $37.2 billion in online spend, up 5.4% YoY and representing a 16.8% share of the full holiday season.

Mobile Shopping Reigns Supreme

Both Adobe and Salesforce noted a marked increase in mobile shopping this Cyber Week. According to Salesforce stats, mobile usage reached an all-time high on Black Friday, accounting for 79% of all digital traffic, up from 76% in 2022. “The mobile phone has been the remote control for holiday shopping, connecting consumers to brands as they navigate across online and offline channels,” said Garf.

And Adobe data shows that smartphones drove over half of online sales over the weekend (54%, up from 52% last year). This represents $5.6 billion in online spend, up 12.7% YoY. Adobe does expect mobile shopping to dip on Cyber Monday, however, based on historical trends — with more people back at work and using laptops, computers will likely be the preferred device for shopping online today.  

Stores are Still in the Mix

While online spending dominated the weekend, store visits also saw a bump on Black Friday, with footfall up 2% YoY across the U.S., according to RetailNext. This is in contrast to the 7% YoY increase in store traffic retailers saw last year. Retail verticals with the biggest footfall gains included health and beauty (traffic up 13.3%), jewelry (up 6.7%) and apparel (up 1.9%).

“This gives us a glimpse into the consumer mind, which is increasingly cautious about discretionary spending amid pressures like higher interest rates, student loan repayments, gas and grocery cost increases, increased credit card debt and reduced savings rates,” said Joe Shasteen, Global Manager of Advanced Analytics at RetailNext in a statement. “With discounting at an all-time high this year, it’s likely the wider variety of discounted merchandise is boosting footfall as shoppers browse the best deals available. From a retailer’s perspective, discounting is giving their businesses the opportunity to reduce inventories and move product before the close of the year.”

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