- Online sales reached $490 million on Black Friday morning, with mobile generating 57% of visits and a hearty 40% chunk of sales, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
Thanksgiving Day online sales totaled $1.93 billion, showing growth of 11.5%, Adobe reported. Mobile sales alone reached $449 million between midnight and 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, a 58% year-over-year leap.
- Total online sales for the month of November surged to $29.09 billion by Black Friday morning, showing 4.7% online sales growth for the period, Adobe adds. Online sales exceeded $1 billion on 23 of 24 days this month.
The year of mobile has finally arrived. Adobe Digital Insights projected mobile devices would eclipse desktops in digital shopping visits for the first time ever this holiday season, and by Black Friday morning, that prediction actualized, with 57% of visits coming from mobile devices. In addition, mobile traffic helped fuel record Thanksgiving Day online sales for retailers like Kohl’s and Target.
“Mobile is exploding,” Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s Investor Service, told Retail Dive. “If you hook someone with a mobile app, you’ll hook them as a buyer and maintain a relationship as they move on to [a desktop] computer."
Top-grossing Black Friday products so far include electronics like iPads, Samsung 4k televisions and HP Inspiron Computers, while top-grossing toys include children’s electric scooters and vehicles, drones and nerf guns, according to Adobe’s report. Consumer spending also increased for pet accessories, tablets, furniture and bedding and ticket admissions, while dropping for videogame consoles, jewelry and computers.
Wal-Mart’s bet on mobile in the lead-up to Black Friday ensured it a spot as one of the beneficiaries of the mobile shopping explosion. The retail giant credited mobile devices for driving more than 70% of traffic to Walmart.com during its Black Friday event.
Wal-Mart is betting big on tech, with over 50% of Black Friday promotions spotlighting consumer electronics, compared to 20% for Target and 15% on Amazon, according to Clavis Insight, an e-commerce analytics company. Wal-Mart took steps to dramatically expand its online merchandise selection ahead of Black Friday, roughly tripling its product offering from 8 million to more than 23 million items. E-commerce solutions provider ChannelAdvisor estimates its seller customers now account for 15 million Walmart.com listings, and sales for those listings are up 39.7% from last year.
Wal-Mart rival Target also ramped up its digital efforts, on Wednesday offering shoppers pre-sale Black Friday deals on its popular Cartwheel mobile application. The effort resulted in the savings app’s biggest day ever for new users, the retailer said. Mobile also generated more than 60% of Target’s online sales on Thanksgiving Day. The retailer also reported that Target.com had its biggest day ever, experiencing double-digit growth.
Not to be outdone, Amazon's announced that Thanksgiving Day mobile orders outpaced both Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday 2015, TheStreet's Brian Sozzi tweeted. In a statement emailed to Seeking Alpha, Amazon added it is on track to exceed last year’s Black Friday sales totals, with devices powered by its Alexa voice-activated technology leading the charge. Other bestsellers include Hasbro's Pie Face Game, WeMo’s Alexa-enabled Switch Smart Plug and Sennheiser’s HD 598 Headphones.
One step ahead of the curve, Amazon on Friday also released more than 75,000 Cyber Monday deals. As a perk to Prime members, Amazon is also offering one-hour delivery on Cyber Monday purchases in 30 U.S. cities.
Retailers like Home Depot and Ikea are doing a particularly good job of using their mobile apps to provide in-store navigation for customers, Michael Brown, a partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney, a global strategy and management consultant, told Retail Dive.
“Retailers are trying to get to their most loyal connected consumers with personalized offers to break through all of the other Black Friday noise that is going on,” Brown said. “Traditional Black Friday had been a gift-centric event but if you sit back and see the marketing, there are car dealerships, big appliance sellers, everybody is trying to hop on the Black Friday bandwagon and the traditional retailer message is getting lost in that. Mobile is a great way to get to your customer base.”
While the biggest trends are online, Brown is quick to point out that “Stores are critical for social and inspirational shopping needs.” Some retailers got flak for opening their doors while some families were still in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, but the head start seems to be paying off. Most Macy’s stores opened at 5 p.m. on Thursday, an hour earlier than on Thanksgiving Day 2015.
“I got to the opening at [Macy’s] Herald Square in New York City at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. It looked as strong as I have ever seen it at any time. We estimate there were over 16,000 people waiting outside our store yesterday and they were ready to shop,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren told TheStreet on Black Friday morning. “Right now, I am here at Herald Square and it looks plenty full. We are encouraged by the opening.”
And despite forecasts indicating that close to half of U.S. consumers plan to skip Black Friday or its digital sibling Cyber Monday this year, Jeff Gennette, who will replace Lundgren at the end of the first quarter of 2017, dismissed the suggestion that the rise of digital commerce and online sales events would render in-store Black Friday shopping obsolete. “Black Friday is an American tradition and we don’t see that abating just because of online sales,” Gennette told Fortune.
While the Black Friday hype is sure to endure throughout the weekend, O’Shea reminds retailers that it’s only a snapshot of what the holiday season could be.
“Remember it’s a long season,” he said. “This weekend sets the tone and can determine the need for a retailer to re-jigger promotional strategy with online, and with the promotional calendar this year, there’s a lot of game left and you can draw some conclusions about today. But I don’t know if they will provide this huge window to what will happen.”