Adobe: Thanksgiving US online sales nudge up to $5.6B; Salesforce: $31.7B spent worldwide

Thanksgiving Thursday, when US stores are closed and many take time off from work, has been done de facto start of the holiday shopping season for bargain hunters online, and for online retailers to start holiday sales deals to meet that demand. But if there’s a message from this year’s Thanksgiving sales, it’s that consumers are holding steady, but don’t hold your breath for a growth spurt.

Adobe Analytics SAYS that people in the US spent on Thursday spent $5.6 billion online, which it calculated was an increase of only 5.5% over the previous year.

Salesforce, which also calculates sales based on data collected by its Commerce Cloud division, THE audience worldwide, online sales reached $31.7 billion with the US tally at $7.5 billion — both up just 1%. Salesforce’s calculations of average order value are similarly modest. Globally, average orders rose just 2% to $103 per “basket” while in the US they rose a slight 1% to $119.

Mobile devices had an incredible year: Adobe said that about $3.3 billion was spent on mobile devices on Thanksgiving, up 14% and an all-time record for the day.

Salesforce added that overall online traffic to e-commerce sites, which includes browsing, also increased, but again by a figure of 4% globally and 6% in the US.

Both are actively tracking sales for today, Black Friday, and for the entire “Cyber ​​​​Weekend” – which not only kicks off holiday shopping but also has a strong showing of online sales due to the person traveling to be with family. As a bellwether for the rest of the holiday season — traditionally the biggest time for retail sales of the year — the flat sales speak to a tough year for online retailers.

Adobe Analytics predicts $37.2 billion in online spending for the full five days, which is just 5.4% year-over-year and accounts for 16.8% of all holiday spending. And Black Friday will see $9.6 billion in sales, which is roughly the same, 5.7%, compared to last year’s numbers. (Published 2022 numbers are about $9.13 billion.) Salesforce doesn’t provide predictions.

For some context on today’s Thanksgiving numbers, last year’s published numbers from Adobe were $5.29 billion, which actually represents an increase of less than 4%. (Adobe Analytics likely revised its final numbers last year, which is why we see a higher growth percentage.) Today’s 5.5% rate is certainly an improvement over last year’s 2.9%. But this. nothing compared to the years before Covid-19, such as 2017, where we saw growth of 18% or more.

Inflation is making an impact but not as much as consumer spending concerns, Adobe said, noting that spending is actually being driven by more discounts to encourage buying, rather than less buying more. expensive products. That leads one to wonder what kind of impact that will have on retailers’ margins.

“Cyber​​​​​​Week was a strong start to Thanksgiving driving a record $5.6 billion in online spending as consumers took advantage of deep discounts and continued their shopping plans, almost,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst, Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement. “Mobile shopping hit an all-time high, as shoppers took to their smartphones to grab the best deals during holiday gatherings, further reinforcing the growing importance of mobile in e-commerce.”

The Adobe Analytics numbers are based, it says, on 1 trillion visits to US retail sites, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories. Salesforce says it taps into data from 1.5 billion consumers in its research. (Both companies work with many giants and small vendors, so they have the infrastructure to provide this kind of intel to these customers on an ongoing basis.)

Breaking down some of the trends in how people shop:

— In general, desktop sales are more than other types of screens in terms of conversions and number of items purchased, but mobile is the standout device in the night hours, if it counts a whopping 59% of all online sales (probably because people use that time to socialize and buy in secret).

— More on mobile: Salesforce says that for the day, mobile accounts for 79% of all online traffic worldwide and 82% in the US, and that mobile wallets are really making a mark for reducing some of the friction in buying small devices. Apple Pay saw transactions up 47% compared to 44% of all mobile wallets overall. Mobile social – think links to Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat – has become an influencer in itself. These collectives account for 13% of all sites’ traffic referrals. Notably, they are not where most purchases are made, however.

“Mobile traffic and sales are on the rise as people go out again this holiday weekend,” Salesforce VP and GM, Retail, Rob Garf, said in a statement. “Consumers are embracing mobile wallets to break the friction between social discovery and mobile purchasing.”

— Retailers are really pushing discounts so people are more willing to spend this year. Adobe and Salesforce said that the discounts in the US increased by about 28%. Categories that saw dramatic markups include toys, electronics and computers, per Adobe figures; in fact it saw sales of 182% and 113% last month.

— Buy ​​Now Pay Later (BNPL) remains a popular option for paying ahead. BNPL drove $390 million in online spending, Adobe said, up 7.5% over last year.

We’ll update with more data later, and with Black Friday numbers as they begin to emerge.

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