Black Friday shoppers on track to drop record $7.4B online

The holiday shopping period is six days shorter than is typical

Black Friday shoppers are on track to spend a record amount of money online this year, as consumers face a shortened holiday-shopping season.

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Adobe Analytics expects online retail sales on Friday to reach a staggering $7.4 billion, which marks a 20.5 percent increase from last year’s sales total of $6.22 billion. As of 9 a.m. EST Friday morning, shoppers already spent $600 million online, a 19.2 percent jump from 2018.

Sales also hit a record on Thanksgiving, with preliminary data from Adobe suggesting that shoppers could spend as much as $4.4 billion -- a 20 percent increase from 2018. As of 5 p.m. ET on the holiday, shoppers had already dropped $2.1 billion online.

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“The strong online sales performance to-date suggests that holiday shopping starts much earlier than ever before,” Jason Woolsey, vice president of commerce product and platform at Adobe, said in a statement. “Steep discounts on popular items like computers on the day before Thanksgiving indicate that many of the season’s best deals are already up for grabs.”

Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest day for sales; Adobe predicted that shoppers will shell out a whopping $9.4 billion, a 19.1 increase from the year-ago period.

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In total, consumers are forecast to spend a total of $143.7 billion online, up 14.1 from last year, throughout the entire holiday season, the shortest since 2013 because Thanksgiving fell on the fourth Thursday in November, the last possible date it could be. That means customers have six fewer days to shop than they typically do.

Still, more than half of consumers said they already began shopping, making almost a quarter of purchases, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation and Proper Insights & Analytics.

“This is further evidence that the holiday season has grown far beyond the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

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