Black Friday, the day after a quiet Thanksgiving Thursday, traditionally has been thought of as the start of the holiday sales season, but the rise of e-commerce in the last few years has changed all that, and the action is already kicking off today.
Early numbers from Adobe and IBM, two of the companies that track traffic to a vast swathe of e-commerce properties, show that numbers are up compared to 2016. According to Adobe, which says it measures 80 percent of online transactions at 100 of the largest retailers on the web in the U.S., sales are up 17.6 percent year-on-year, and that $360 million in total has already been spent online.
The 17.6 percent mirrors the rest of the month so far. Between November 1 and November 22, overall spending has been up 17.9 percent compared to 2016, with all 22 days seeing over $1 billion in online spend. This is a mark not just of consumer confidence, but the fact that the promotions actually have started earlier and earlier, has likely also played a role.
Bypassing the fact that many stores are closed on Thursday, a number of businesses are taking advantage of the fact that most people in the U.S. are not working today to get them started on their winter shopping with cut price deals and more.
Adobe says the average order value on pre-Thanksgiving day is $137, up 0.8 percent. As a point of comparison, IBM’s Bluemix analytics panel puts the average order value currently at around $114. (Discount will mean more volume, but overall less spent per item.)
“Thanksgiving is shaping up to be a record-breaking shopping day. Conversion rates across the board are seeing double digit growth, and we’ll see that continue throughout the week as we expect Black Friday and Cyber Monday to pull in the most spend,” said Mickey Mericle, vice president, Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe.
More breakout stats:
Computers are discounted on average 11.2 percent, TVs 15.1 percent and toys 11.4 percent. Black Friday will see the discounts spike by quite a lot.
Smartphones and mobile overall continue to play a strong role in purchasing, especially on days when you are sitting around with family and possibly not wanting to open up a computer but buy a little more surreptitiously. Adobe says 44.2 percent of all traffic to sites is coming from smartphones with desktops at 47.6 percent and down 10 percent on last year; tablets are also down. These are likely to change as the day progresses. IBM notes that among actual sales (not traffic) 34 percent of these are coming from mobile.
Adobe overall forecasts that sales online will reach $107.4 billion this season, up 13.8 percent.
We’ll continue to update this as the day goes one. Happy Thanksgiving!