Black Friday online sales were down this year, but retailers needn’t worry

Cyber Monday is here, which means Black Friday has been and gone, leaving analysts to take a deep look into the shopping event’s online stats. For the first time ever, Black Friday saw less money spent online than its predecessor, though there are some good reasons why.

Adobe Analytics reports that total online spending for Black Friday reached $8.9 billion, slightly lower than last year’s $9 billion record. But retailers don’t have to worry; not only did the pandemic see online buying explode in 2020— Black Friday 2019’s online sales hit $7.4 billion—but many consumers were also shopping smarter this year.

“For the first time ever, Black Friday saw a reversal of the growth trend of past years,” said, Vivek Pandya, Adobe Digital Insights’ lead analyst. “Shoppers are being strategic in their gift shopping, buying much earlier in the season and being flexible about when they shop to make sure they get the best deals.”

We can see this trend when looking at daily online spending. Consumers have spent at least $2 billion every day and $3+ billion on 19 days so far this holiday season. At the same point last year, more than $2 billion had been spent across 22 days, while just five days had seen the $3 billion mark passed.

Toys, books, video games, and appliances, were some of the most popular shopping categories. Adobe also found that Air fryers, instant pots, and hoverboards were the top US sellers on Black Friday, while AirPods, iPads, and the Meta Quest 2, were popular the following day. Additionally, out-of-stock messages were up 124% for several areas, including electronics—and we all know why.

As for the day’s most-purchased console, that honor goes to the Xbox Series S. Not too surprising, given that it’s Microsoft’s best-selling console in some key markets thanks to its lower price and better availability.

Another interesting stat is that while smartphones accounted for 62.2% of visits to retail sites on Black Friday, only 44.4% of online sales were made from handsets. Buy-now, pay-later and curbside pickup options also saw their popularity increase compared to pre-pandemic days.

Adobe estimates that Cyber Monday will be the biggest shopping day of the year, with $10.2 billion to $11.3 billion spent by consumers. Make sure to check out today’s best deals as picked by Techspot staff.