Significant Gains Generated from Black Friday and Cyber Monday Traffic


Holiday spending is showing some better than expected momentum — so far, at least, based on reports emanating Tuesday on the key stretch from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday.

Adobe reported Tuesday that consumers spent a total of $12.4 billion on Cyber Monday, up 9.6 percent year-over-year and surpassing the software giant’s initial projection of $12 billion.

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Shopify, which powers the e-commerce sites of brands and retailers around the world, reported Tuesday that from the start of Black Friday through Cyber Monday its merchants totaled 9.3 billion in sales, representing a 24 percent increase from the 7.5 billion during the same period in 2022.

In another positive report, the National Retail Federation said a record 200.4 million consumers shopped over the five-day holiday weekend period, surpassing last year’s record of 196.7 million. The figures, based on its survey in conjunction with Prosper Insights & Analytics, surpassed NRF’s expectations of 182 million shoppers.

The surge in consumer demand can be attributed to two factors — deep discounting on items such as clothing, personal care, toys, shoes and electronics, and more consumers turning to buy now, pay later options to help finance their shopping,” said Sudip Mazumder, senior vice president, retail Industry lead, North America at digital consultancy Publicis Sapient.

Amazon revealed Tuesday that its extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping event, which kicked off Nov. 17 and continued through Nov. 27, was its biggest compared to the same 11-day period ending on Cyber Monday in previous years. “Customers around the world purchased more than 1 billion items on Amazon, with shoppers saving nearly 70 percent more on Amazon during the 11 days of deals compared to the same period last year,” the company said. Amazon will be dropping new deals every day through Dec. 24, including up to 30 percent off Keurig coffee brewers, Hasbro toys, DeWalt tools and Sony headphones.

“The 2023 holiday shopping season began with a lot of uncertainty, as consumers shifted their spending to services, while dealing with rising costs across different facets of their lives. The record online spending across Cyber Week, however, shows the impact that discounts can have on consumer demand, especially with quality products that drove a lot of impulse shopping,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement.

“The five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday represents some of the busiest shopping days of the year and reflects the continued resilience of consumers and strength of the economy,” NRF president and chief executive officer Matthew Shay said in his statement. “Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout.”

Shay expressed at a press conference that the high consumer turnout was a reflection of not only consumer confidence in spending but also the enticing deals offered by retailers as well as the pleasant weather conditions throughout Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Most parts of the country experienced cool, dry and sunny weather which was a departure from earlier in the month.

Statistics from the NRF revealed that there were 121.4 million visitors to physical retail locations for either window shopping or purchasing, a slight decrease from 122.7 million in the preceding year. However, the number of online shoppers saw an increase, with a total of 134.2 million in comparison to 130.2 million the year before.

As the NRF/Prosper survey indicated, Black Friday continued its reign as the most popular day for brick-and-mortar shopping, with 76.2 million shoppers, an increase from 72.9 million in 2022.

The NRF also disclosed that approximately 59 million consumers shopped in retail stores on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, a drop from 63.4 million the previous year. However, consistent with last year, 78 percent of these Saturday shoppers were specifically shopping for Small Business Saturday.

NRF provided data suggesting that Black Friday was the busiest day for online shopping. However, this was disputed by Adobe who claimed Cyber Monday to be the day with the highest online sales volume. Shopify predicted that its merchants’ online sales on Cyber Monday would exceed the $4.1 billion mark that was set on Black Friday.

According to statistics provided by NRF, the number of U.S. consumers who shopped online on Black Friday was 90.6 million, an increase from the 87.2 million in 2022. When compared to the roughly 73 million consumers who shopped online on Cyber Monday, a decrease from the previous year’s 77 million.

NRF data reports that the most popular locations for Thanksgiving weekend shoppers were as follows: online shopping took the lead with 44 percent, followed by grocery stores and supermarkets with 42 percent, department stores with 40 percent, and clothes and accessories stores with 36 percent. The least visited were electronics stores with 29 percent.

The same NRF study portrayed that consumers spent an average of $321.41 over the five-day shopping period, slightly lower than the $325.44 average of the previous year. Out of the total amount, $226.55 or 70 percent of the expenses went towards gifts. Clothing and accessories took the lead as the most purchased gift by 49 percent of the surveyed shoppers, followed by toys (31 percent), gift cards (25 percent), and books, video games, and other media, with personal care or beauty items both at 23 percent.

“Over the course of the weekend, consumers were able to find great deals on holiday gifts and other items they wanted,” said Prosper executive vice president of strategy Phil Rist. “This year is the first time personal care and beauty items were among the top five most popular gifts purchased over Thanksgiving weekend, with nearly one-quarter of shoppers purchasing these items.”

In other NRF findings, consumers reported that on average, 55 percent of their Thanksgiving weekend purchases were specifically driven by sales and promotions, up from 52 percent in 2022. Another 31 percent said a limited-time sale or promotion convinced them to make a purchase they were hesitant about, up from 29 percent last year.

Similar to last year, as of Thanksgiving weekend, 85 percent of consumers had started holiday shopping and were about halfway, or 48 percent, done so far.

NRF, which defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, has forecast that holiday spending is expected to grow between 3 and 4 percent, totaling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion. Most other forecasters are also in that range or close to it. The NRF/Prosper survey of 3,498 adult consumers was conducted Nov. 22 to 26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.

Shay has indicated that the sales results from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday give promising signs for the Christmas season. However, other retail executives have expressed to WWD that the sales performance during this period may not necessarily determine the progress for the rest of the season. In anticipation of a considerable dip in gift shopping within the following week until about ten days prior to Christmas, retailers express uncertainty about the ultimate sales outcome, given the substantial role that discounting plays.

Adobe has reported that apparel sales surged on Cyber Monday, registering an online sales growth of 189 percent compared to a typical day in October 2023. Other product categories that witnessed high demand include appliances, which saw an increase of 166 percent, toys improved by 140 percent, furniture increased by 129 percent, electronics saw a 103 percent increase, jewelry improved by 99 percent, and sales of sporting goods rose by 95 percent.

The items that topped sales on Cyber Monday comprised of popular toys such as Hot Wheels, Mario Kart, Disney Pixar Cars, Disney Junior Minnie Mouse and playsets, as well as Legos. Gaming consoles like Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch also made it to the list of top-selling items. Top games sold included Spiderman 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, NBA 2K24, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

Adobe also listed other items that were top sellers. These included skin care gift sets, small kitchen appliances, TVs, smartwatches, activity trackers and Bluetooth headphones.

On Cyber Monday, a notable rise was seen in “buy now pay later” usage, reported Adobe. This financial trend led to a record high of approximately $940 million in online expenditure, marking a massive year-over-year growth of 42.5%.

The “BNPL” approach on Thanksgiving day alone accounted for around $390 million in e-commerce, a significant surge from the previous year’s 7.5%. In addition, around 80% of all e-commerce orders during Black Friday used regular shipping, hinting that customers may be favoring inexpensive delivery options because of rising costs. While many businesses may witness enhanced revenue performance due to robust consumer spending, the truly successful ones will be those capable of safeguarding their profit margins through effective stock management and lean supply chains.

According to Adobe, the span from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, dubbed “Cyber Week”, racked up an impressive $38 billion in total, denoting a year-over-year rise of 7.8%. This spike was fueled by historical online spending records during Thanksgiving ($5.6 billion, 5.5% increase), Black Friday ($9.8 billion, 7.5% increase), and the subsequent weekend ($10.3 billion), showing an uptrend of 7.7%.

Dating from the start of November to the 27th, US consumers have already spent a whopping $109.3 billion online, a 7.3% increase from the same period in the past year. Adobe continues to predict an optimistic outlook for the complete holiday season, that is, from November 1st until December 31st. It anticipates the period to realize $221.8 billion, marking a 4.8% growth rate.

On Cyber Monday, there were noticeable markdowns across most categories as recorded by Adobe. Computers had a discount rate of 24 percent, a notable increase from last year’s 20 percent. Televisions also experienced a discount surge, from last year’s 17 percent to 19 percent this year. The apparel sector wasn’t left out with a discount increase from 21 percent last year, to 23 percent this year. On the contrary, toy discounts fell from last year’s 34 percent to 27 percent this year.

Despite several seasons of inflation, this season’s consumer spending figures didn’t just revolve around higher prices, but also net-new demand, as reported by Adobe. The Adobe Digital Price Index, a tracker of online prices across 18 product categories, reveals a year-long decrease in e-commerce prices with last October marking a 6 percent decline year-over-year. However, the effect of high prices remains tangible among consumers. Adobe’s research approach involves analyzing over a trillion visits to U.S retail sites, 100 million stock-keeping units, and 18 product categories.

From the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period, Shopify, based on feedback from its merchants, revealed the following results:

The U.S, the U.K, Australia, Canada, and Germany were identified as the top-selling countries.

Top-selling cities: Los Angeles, New York and London.

Average cart price: $108.12 globally, or $107.53 on a constant currency basis.

Top five product categories by orders: apparel and accessories, health and beauty, home and garden; food and beverage, arts and entertainment.

Desktop versus mobile sales: 74 percent to 26 percent, respectively.

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