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Note from the editor

Black Friday marks the start of the shopping season, as retailers and analysts watch to see how trends and early indicators play out in the weeks between the sales kick-off and the holidays themselves. 

The complete reckoning for the shopping period each year isn't known until there is a full tally of in-store sales figures. Holiday e-commerce sales in the U.S. grew by 13.2% in 2019 to $137.6 billion, according to a report from eMarketer emailed to Retail Dive. E-commerce sales were up from $121.5 billion in 2018 and $109.2 billion in 2017.

Per the report, U.S. holiday retail sales increased by 3.7% in 2019 to about $1.01 trillion, exceeding $1 trillion for the first time. The report predicts that e-commerce holiday sales will reach about $156.7 billion in 2020, which would be an increase of 13.9%. 

The report by eMarketer further contextualizes the growing importance of e-commerce sales during the holiday shopping season. An Adobe Analytics 2018 report pointed out that smartphone sales and Cyber Monday purchases were rapidly growing. Adobe's 2019 holiday report found that 48% of revenue on Christmas Day came from smartphones. 

Previous reports have also picked up on the increasing e-commerce holiday sales as well as what consumers prefer to purchase online. Mastercard's SpendingPulse "Holiday E-Commerce Report" found that online sales grew by 18.8% during the 2019 holiday season, an increase from 18.4% the year prior. For Amazon, Cyber Monday 2019 was the e-commerce retail giant's biggest shopping day in the company's history, though it declined to share exact figures. 

Online spending may continue its upward trajectory, particularly Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Holiday shoppers spent the most money ($9.1 billion) on Cyber Monday in 2019, followed by Black Friday, during which consumers spent $7.2 billion. With a 20.5% increase in sales on Cyber Monday and 19.9% on Black Friday, both holidays saw the highest growth compared to 2018, the report also found.

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