Black Friday 2020 Consumers Spend Record-High $9 Billion Online

Black Friday shopping is as much a part of the Thanksgiving holiday tradition as a big turkey dinner for some, but this year things looked a little bit different. With the COVID-19 pandemic prompting many to stay home instead of head into stores for deals this year, online Black Friday shopping surged with consumers spending a record $9 billion online the day after Thanksgiving, a figure that is a nearly 22 percent surge over 2019.

These numbers come from Adobe (via CNBC) who analyzes website transactions from 80 of the United States' 100 top online retailers. Per the report, these figures make Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, only behind Cyber Monday 2019. These numbers also put Cyber Monday 2020 on track to be the biggest day for digital sales ever. Estimates guess that people will spend between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion on Monday.

What's driving these epic sales? It appears that it is a combination of the traditional big ticket electronics items as well as more ordinary fare, such as groceries, clothing and more -- things usually picked up in brick-and-mortar stores in non-pandemic conditions.

"New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store," Taylor Schreiner, a director at Adobe Digital Insights said.

There were some other interesting bits of data to come from the report as well. Retailers who offered curbside pickup for Black Friday, such as Target, Best Buy, and Dick's Sporting Goods, saw an increase of 52 percent over last year in the use of that service. The report also noted that online grocery shopping surged on Black Friday with a 397 percent increase over October's daily averages and sales of personal care products hit a massive 556 percent.

The flip side to this is that physical store traffic fell dramatically as compared to 2019. According to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions, brick and mortar Black Friday traffic fell 52.1 percent, a number that was lower than what even the experts had guessed.

"We knew Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn't know how much it was going to be down," Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions, said. "Shoppers are spreading out their shopping throughout the holiday season because of concerns about social distancing and the pandemic."

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Photo: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images