People look at jewelry in Macy & # 39; s Herald Square during the early opening Black Friday sale in Manhattan, New York on November 27, 2020.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters
Black Friday online sales are well on their way to hitting a record high this year as bargain hunters scoured websites for deals, according to preliminary data from Adobe Analytics, and avoided doing business during the coronavirus pandemic.
As of late Friday, online sales were between $ 8.9 billion and $ 9.6 billion. This corresponds to an increase of between 20% and 29% over the previous year, depending on how many shoppers shop until late at night. Almost 42% of sales were generated with smartphones after 4:00 p.m. ET, a 7% increase over last year.
The data suggests the one-day Christmas sales, typically coupled with a long-line shop frenzy and the pursuit of coveted gift items, most of which are done online. With the rise in online shopping on Black Friday, U.S. consumers will have spent at least $ 6.2 million per minute on the day of the Christmas sale, according to Adobe.
Adobe expects Cyber Monday to be the biggest online sales day in history, with online sales of $ 11.2 billion to $ 13 billion – a 19 to 38 percent increase year over year.
On Thanksgiving Day, online sales also hit a record, increasing 21.5% to $ 5.1 billion, according to Adobe. The company analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 US online retailers. Almost half of those sales came from smartphones. Retailers have also increased their sales by offering roadside collection. Companies that offered the faster alternative of delivering a package to their customers' homes saw a 31% higher conversion rate for traffic to their sites.
With many retailers starting holiday sales in October and posting some of their deepest discounts on their website, shoppers had less reason to go to stores in person this Black Friday. Shops and malls reflected more brick and mortar sales, with fewer lines and emptier parking spaces than Christmas sales events of the past.
Pandemic restrictions and Covid cases also shaped behavior. Shoppers were more likely to buy gifts online if they lived in states with Covid-19 restrictions on family gatherings. Adobe saw online shopping growth in these areas 3.4 times faster on Thanksgiving than in states with fewer restrictions.
During Black Friday, Star Wars items, Hot Wheels, Nerf toys, and video games were the top-selling toys, including Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Madden NFL 2, and NBA 2K21. In the electronics category, Apple AirPods, air fryers and Amazon Fire TV were the best sellers.
Toys and personal care products were among the top spending categories, according to Adobe. Online spending on toys increased 294% and increased 278% on personal care products compared to the daily average in October. Office supplies and bed linen sales increased 114% and 109%, respectively.
Although clothing spending on Thanksgiving increased compared to retailers' average daily spending in October, it is still below the prior-year level. Sweaters and other clothing aren't high on the gift list as many Americans work from home and opt for casual wear, Adobe said.