Black Friday breaks online sales record at $3.34bn, Adobe data shows

Adobe today released its 2016 online shopping data for Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day. More than $5bn ($5.27bn) was spent online by the end of Black Friday, a 17.7% increase year-over-year (YoY). Black Friday set a new record by surpassing the three-billion-dollar mark for the first time at $3.34bn (21.6% growth YoY) while Thanksgiving accounted for the remaining $1.93bn. Black Friday became the first day in retail history to drive over one billion dollars in mobile revenue at $1.2bn, a 33% growth YoY.

The five best selling toys were Lego Creator Sets, electric scooters from Razor, Nerf Guns, DJI Phantom Drones and Barbie Dreamhouse. The five top selling electronic products on Black Friday were Apple iPads, Samsung 4k TVs, Apple MacBook Air, LG TVs and Microsoft Xbox. Mobile is driving the majority of visits to retail websites on Black Friday at 55% (45% coming from smartphones, 10% from tablets), while accounting for 36% of sales (25% smartphones, 11% tablets). Large retailers have seen twice the growth in online sales compared to small retailers since the beginning of the season. Retailers that have invested in mobile, email and social have seen 30% more sales on average and 25% higher average order values.

Adobe’s Black Friday report is based on aggregated and anonymous data from 22.6bn visits to retail websites. Adobe measures 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 US retailers, more than any other technology company, and uses its proven predictive model powered by Adobe Sensei to forecast online sales and trends. Seven dollars and fifty cents out of every 10 dollars spent online with the top 500 US retailers goes through Adobe Marketing Cloud. The tremendous volume of data puts Adobe in the unique position to deliver highly accurate, census-based online sales totals, pricing and product availability trends.

“Shoppers hit the buy button at unprecedented levels as conversion rates were up nearly a full percent across all devices in the evening hours on Black Friday,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director, Adobe Digital Insights. “With the full day total coming in at $3.34bn, Black Friday may have just dethroned Cyber Monday’s position as the largest online shopping day of the year. Shoppers are still buying at higher than expected levels in the early morning hours of Small Business Saturday.”

Additional findings for Black Friday:

  • Mobile performance: conversions improved over holiday averages, with smartphones at 2.4%, tablets at 4.6% and desktops at 5.5% (compared to holiday averages of 1.3%, 2.9% and 3.2%, respectively). The average order value (AOV) on iOS smartphones ($142) was higher compared to Android smartphones ($130).
  • Out-of-stock items: the products most likely to run out-of-stock include Nintendo NES Classic, PlayStation VR bundle, PlayStation 4 Call of Duty Black Ops bundle, Beats Solo, Nintendo 3DS XL Solgaleo Lunala Black Edition and Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Console Bundle for electronics in addition to Hatchimals, Razor Hovertrack 2.0, Kurio Smartwatches, Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, Lego Star Wars, Paw Patrol Jungle Tracker’s Cruiser Vehicle and Little Tikes Princess Horse & Carriage for toys. Out-of-stock messages were at 10.5%, 1.5% less than levels seen in 2015 and 1.9% higher than on Thanksgiving Day (8.6%). Products under $300 were 20% more likely to be out-of-stock.
  • Most popular products of the season: for the entire season so far (Nov. 1 – 24), PlayStation 4 is the best-selling video game console, followed by Microsoft Xbox One. Pokémon Sun and Moon leads in video games, followed by Call of Duty. Samsung 4K TVs lead in televisions, followed by Vizio 4K TVs.
  • Discounts: the highest price drops were seen for tablets (average discount of 25.4%, televisions (23.2%), toys (15.0%) and computers (11.6%). Video game consoles were sold for higher prices (3.2%) compared to Thanksgiving.
  • Top promotion drivers: retailers saw an increase in sales coming through Shopper Helper Sites like RetailMeNot and CNET (16.5% share of sales), email (17.8%), display (1.2%) and social (0.9%). Traffic coming from search ads (38.3%) decreased by 4.3% from holiday averages while direct traffic (25.3 %) decreased by 9.6%, although both remained the largest contributors to overall sales.
  • Thanksgiving Day: consumers spent $1.93bn, 11.5% more than in 2015, with an average order value that was relatively flat at $160, compared to $162 in 2015. Mobile accounted for 57%of visits and 40% of sales ($771m). Smartphones drove twice as many sales as tablets, at 27% and 13%, respectively.