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What inflation? Black Friday, Cyber Monday set e-commerce records

Black Friday e-commerce sales set records as consumers shrug off inflation worries

A shopper passes in front of a Hollister clothing store advertising sales ahead of Black Friday and the Thanksgiving holiday, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Miami. Bargain hunting is back with full force heading into the holidays. But inflation is limiting how much of a deal consumers will be getting. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Deals galore trumped inflation as shoppers logged on Friday in search of bargains. Online Black Friday sales topped $9 billion according to Adobe Analytics, and topped that on Cyber Monday. Monday’s totals reached $11.3 billion, the firm said.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 69% of shoppers surveyed for its annual November Holiday Consumer Survey planned to shop during Thanksgiving weekend this year, with 59% saying the deals were the primary motivation. For many, the discounts were just too good to pass up.

Adobe said online sales Friday reached a record $9.12 billion. Sales were $5.3 billion on Thanksgiving and finished at $4.6 billion and $4.95 billion on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Friday’s sales were up 2.3% year over year. Notably, the company said transaction volume was up, suggesting that it was not simply inflation that led to the higher sales figures.

Salesforce had slightly lower figures, at $8 billion on Friday, but noted that online sales increased 12% after rising 9% on Thanksgiving Day.

“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” Mathew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said last week.

Adobe is predicting Cyber Monday sales to top $11 billion.


One driving factor in the increase in sales is buy now, pay later (BNPL) programs. Adobe said BNPL sales were 78% higher last week compared to the previous one, and revenue from BNPL was up 81% during the period.

“We’re seeing a lot of people leaning on savings and debt to afford a lot of these purchases,” Claire Tassin, Morning Consult’s retail and e-commerce analyst, told Christine Romans, CNN Business’ chief business correspondent. “Even more than credit cards, we’re seeing a lot of people leaning on buy now, pay later services, which is sort of a newer form of debt that American consumers are really embracing.”

According to Salesforce, the number of online orders picked up in store remained steady last week, hovering around 10% most days. Store pickup had spiked to 18% in the second week of November, the firm said, but has remained primarily between 7% and 11% since. Returns of online orders have also remained flat most of November, trending between 7% and 14%.

Retailers have deeply discounted toys and electronics so far this season, Adobe said, with discounts for each category continuing to trend higher. Black Friday saw toy discounts average 31.8% and electronics 23.4%. At the beginning of October, there were almost no discounts available in these categories.

Televisions, appliances and computers have also seen double-digit discounts in recent weeks.

Adobe is predicting overall sales of $209 billion this holiday season.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]