Online sales rose 11.5 percent on Thanksgiving, to $1.93 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. That was just shy of the $2 billion the firm was expecting, as steep morning discounts and a larger-than-expected increase on Thanksgiving Eve revenue contributed to the shortfall.
Wednesday's online sales shot 19 percent higher year-over-year, to $1.57 billion. That was $92 million above Adobe's prediction, as retailers kicked off Black Friday sales early. Adobe Digital Insights measures 80 percent of online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers.
"Early morning Black Friday shopping is off to a strong start," Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director of Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. The day had brought in $490 million by 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
Adobe predicts Black Friday sales will hit $3.05 billion online, an increase of 11.3 percent. That would be the first time the day's sales topped $3 billion, though it's still seen coming in behind Cyber Monday. The firm anticipates that Black Friday will be the first day in history to exceed $1 billion in mobile revenue.
Several retailers entered what has traditionally been the largest shopping day of the year fresh off of record online sales. Target confirmed Friday morning that revenue and traffic were up double-digits, and helped the chain notch its biggest day for online sales in its history.
Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell told CNBC Friday morning that the chain's online sales have been running up in the double-digits all the year, and increased "pretty dramatically" to a new record on Thanksgiving. The department store was on track to match Thursday's digital performance on Black Friday, Mansell said.
"That's a good signal that people are ready to buy," he said.