Black Friday Shoppers Set Online Spending Record, Adobe Says

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Black Friday shoppers spent a record $9.8 billion online in the US, Adobe Analytics reported, offering a positive sign for retailers facing lackluster sales forecasts for the holiday season.

Demand for electronics, smartwatches, TVs and audio equipment helped boost the day’s online sales by 7.5% compared with last year. Consumers extended their budgets by leaning on buy-now, pay-later options, which climbed by 72% from the week before Thanksgiving.

The uptick marks a recovery from last year’s holiday season when high inflation hit consumers’ pockets and retailers discounted heavily to get rid of bloated inventory. This year, holiday shopping is a bellwether for US consumer resilience as pandemic-era savings dwindle and interest rates remain at a more than 20-year high.

US online sales grew 9% year-on-year in a separate Salesforce Inc. gauge, driven by footwear, sporting goods, health, and beauty. Clothing, home, and beauty showed the biggest discounts.

Online sales for the days leading up to Cyber Monday on Nov. 27 can give companies an early sense of holiday-season performance as they await slower brick-and-mortar data. Yet initial forecasts for November and December point to dismal sales growth.

In the US, Salesforce predicted online sales would grow 1% during that period compared to 2022, the slowest pace in at least five years. Adobe expects revenue to grow 4.8%, far behind the pre-pandemic average annual rate of 13%. The two companies analyze different transactions, which accounts for the variation in numbers.

Canada-based e-commerce marketplace Shopify Inc. said global Black Friday sales rose 22%, led by clothing, personal care and jewelry.

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