Retail

Shoppers ring up record Thanksgiving sales online. Black Friday's tally to exceed $7 billion, Adobe says

Key Points
  • Shoppers spend $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving, a 14.5% increase from last year and a record high, according to data released by Adobe.
  • Black Friday online sales are on track to hit $7.4 billion as of 9 a.m. ET.
  • Black Friday is the biggest shopping day for U.S. consumers.
  • More than 165 million people are expected to shop over the weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.
An employee pulls a cart stacked with boxes at the Amazon.com fulfillment center in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Jim Young | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Big turkey dinners didn't slow down shoppers this Thanksgiving.

Shoppers spent $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving, a 14.5% increase from last year and a record high, according to data released by Adobe Analytics, which monitors the online transactions of 80 of the top 100 web retailers in the U.S.

While this is the first year Thanksgiving spending surpassed $4 billion, it was shy of the $4.4 billion estimate Adobe made late Thursday.

Black Friday online sales are on track to hit $7.4 billion, according to preliminary data, Adobe said. As of 9 a.m. ET, shoppers had already spent $600 million online on Black Friday, a 19.2% increase from last year. That is the most recent data Adobe has reported.

The trend of shoppers moving from visiting brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping was evident on the eve of Black Friday. Crowds were thin at retailers on Thursday evening as U.S. consumers spent more than $2 billion online in the first hours of Thanksgiving shopping.

Nearly half the revenue on Thanksgiving Day came from smartphones, a 24.4% increase from last year.While e-commerce giants saw a 244% increase in sales, smaller retailers saw a 61% jump, Adobe said.

Black Friday is expected to be the biggest shopping day for U.S. shoppers, according to the National Retail Federation. Over the weekend, more than 165 million people are expected to join in. As this year's Thanksgiving holiday arrived one week later in the calendar than last year's, shoppers have six fewer days to squeeze in their purchases this holiday season.

Shoppers spent $57.2 billion online between Nov. 1 and Nov. 28 this year, Adobe said.

During the full holiday season, Adobe said it is expecting shoppers to spend $143.7 billion online.

Companies have been investing in their e-commerce offerings, and integrating them with brick-and-mortar stores. This has been especially apparent for major retailers Target and Walmart, which both saw bigger jumps than Amazon in online customer spending during the first two weeks of November this year compared with last year, according to research firm Edison Trends.

These retailers are improving their products and enhancing shopping options by providing different ways to shop.

"They're making it easy for you to purchase however you want to purchase, whether it's going into the physical store, ordering online and picking it up or ordering it online and having it shipped to you," said Sucharita Kodali, retail analyst at Forrester.

So far this shopping season, about 40% of shoppers have opted to make a purchase online and pick it up in the store or curbside, Adobe said. It expects the trend to increase as the holiday approaches, estimating that about 61% of online shoppers will choose this option.

Despite the shorter shopping season, retailers can expect shoppers to spend, as the U.S. consumer is doing well. While uncertainty looms around how trade tensions with China will impact retailers, consumer spending grew by 2.9% in the third quarter. Despite a drop this month, consumer confidence is near historic highs.

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Here's how critical Black Friday sales are for retailers
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Retail

US shoppers stay away from stores, spend online as Black Friday begins

Key Points
  • U.S. consumers splurged more than $2 billion online in the first hours of Thanksgiving shopping on Thursday.
  • Crowds were largely thin at retailers on the eve of Black Friday, reflecting the broader trend away from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Companies including Walmart, Target, Costco, and Best Buy have bulked up their online presence, deliveries, and fast in-store pickups to attract customers.