As of noon ET on Black Friday, U.S. online shoppers had spent 7% more than they did at the same time on Black Friday 2020, according to data published by customer relationship management firm Salesforce.com Inc.
Initially, Salesforce projected that U.S. Black Friday online sales would be flat over last year at $12.9 billion. Global online sales for Friday were projected to hit $62.9 billion, which would also be flat year-over-year.
Sales during “Cyber Week,” which began Tuesday and culminates a week later with “Cyber Monday,” will set all-time records as U.S. consumers continue to spend despite higher prices, shallower discounts and the possibility of fewer available products due to supply chain bottlenecks, said Rob Garf, Salesforce’s vice president and general manager of retail, in a statement.
For example, average selling prices in the U.S. rose 22% over the first three days of 2021’s Cyber Week, according to Salesforce data. In addition, the average discount on U.S. orders placed on Thanksgiving Day dropped 7% year-over-year to 24%, according to data. Customers ordering on Thursday paid 11% more for their goods than a year ago even though they bought 3% fewer items, Salesforce said.
The year-over-year gains in the face of increased cost pressures demonstrate that online buying habits formed during the COVID-19 pandemic are sticking, Garf said. This will create a “whole new baseline” for current and future online activity, he added.
In what may be good news for hard-pressed delivery carriers, Salesforce said that U.S. sales during the first three weeks of November rose 10% year-over-year, indicating that consumers are ordering earlier than usual to build a cushion against potential shipping delays. The earlier ordering cycle means peak-season demand should be more evenly distributed, thus giving shippers and carriers much-needed breathing room on the calendar.
Luxury handbags, home appliances, and active and general footwear have been the most popular categories for online shoppers so far on Friday, San Francisco-based Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) said.
Salesforce said it analyzed shopping data from more than 1 billion global consumers. Included in the findings are sales from 24 of the top 30 U.S. e-tailers, Salesforce said.