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News & Views

Online sales dominate Black Friday

Black Friday, the annual post-Thanksgiving shopping holiday in the United States, broke online sales records this year. American shoppers spent $5 billion in just 24 hours — growth of nearly 17 per cent on the previous year, according to Adobe Digital Insights. 46 per cent of all retailer traffic came through mobile, an increase of 15 per cent, while traffic from tablets and desktops dropped.

Physical stores still fared well, with less than a one per cent drop in foot traffic compared to 2016, although bricks-and-mortar sales figures for the US have yet to be aggregated.

But the offers don’t stop on Saturday morning. The frenzy continues all week, culminating in e-commerce event Cyber Monday. And there are also the weeks preceding Thanksgiving to consider; online sales from the 1st to 22nd November have grown to $30.4 billion, almost 18 per cent compared to the same period in 2016, with an average of $1 billion spent every day.

In fact, the whole month has come to signify the official start of Christmas shopping season, prompting NPD analyst Marshal Cohen to dub the period “Black November.”

The Black Friday phenomenon has also been adopted in the United Kingdom, despite an absence of any Thanksgiving traditions. Britons spent £1.4 billion online on Black Friday this year, up nearly 12 per cent from 2016, while physical footfall went down more than 3 per cent. UK online sales also grew 3 per cent on Cyber Monday, with analysts identifying 4:38pm, near the end of the working day, as the most popular time for completing a purchase.

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