Black Friday’s online sales look to hit $2.7 billion

As reported by Internet Retailer: 

E-commerce accounted for $822 million spent in the first 11 hours of Black Friday, and discounts were mounting as online retailers jockeyed for position.

Black Friday online sales will increase 14% over last year, with e-retail sales reaching $2.7 billion, according to a report Friday evening from the Adobe Digital Index, based on data from clients of Adobe Inc.

Meanwhile, IBM projected at 6 p.m. Eastern that online sales would increase 20.7%. The IBM data, drawn from its online retail clients, said mobile devices had accounted for 54.4% of traffic, an increase of 16.6% from the day after Thanksgiving last year, and 35.3% of sales, up 35.5% from last year.

An earlier report from Adobe, based on sales until late morning, estimated Black Friday web sales would reach $2.6 billion, which was lower than Adobe anticipated. The provider of analytics and marketing software also said that its projection of 15% growth based on 11 hours of Black Friday e-commerce sales was lower than the 19% increase it previously projected. Through the first 11 hours of the day, $822 million was spent online, according to Adobe, whose information comes from aggregated, anonymous data from 180 million visits to more than 4,500 retail websites between midnight and 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday. Adobe says it tracks 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers.

Smartphones and tablets account for 37% of online Black Friday sales so far, with smartphones getting 22% and tablets 15%, totaling $380 billion in sales via mobile devices, a new record, Adobe says.

Thanksgiving Day, however, may have put a dent in early Black Friday sales. Record online sales of $1.73 billion Thursday were 25% higher than in 2014, Adobe said Friday.

“Shoppers embraced Thanksgiving Day online with stronger-than-expected sales throughout the day,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst, Adobe Digital Index. “Emails from retailers drove 25% more shopping than last year and contributed to a huge mobile shopping day with 37% of sales coming from smartphones and tablets. Early morning Black Friday shopping is lower than expected due to the surge of shopping on Thanksgiving Day and many of the most-wanted products are already out of stock.”

Black Friday started with online shopping traffic up 21%, and mobile devices were grabbing a higher share, according to data from Monetate, which sells testing and personalization services to e-retailers.

Mobile phone shopping traffic surged 119%, with traffic from Apple mobile devices increasing 85% and Android devices 44%. But the add-to-cart rate fell 26%. As usual, desktop users are spending the most ($181 average) followed by tablet ($170) and mobile phone ($125) users, with iOS users outspending Android users ($163 to $132), according to Monetate.

Dazzle for Zazzle: The online retailer of such customizable products as smartphone cases, mugs, canvas prints and apparel was having a triple-digit Black Friday. Zazzle, No. 154 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, experienced a 397% increase in custom wrapping paper sales, a 368% jump in custom blanket orders and sold 10 times as many custom holiday ornaments as of noon Pacific compared with the same time a year ago, a spokeswoman tells Internet Retailer. Zazzle’s 2014 web sales were an Internet Retailer-estimated $215.3 million.

Price cutting was evident via Bomerange Commerce data, which found Target Corp., No. 16 in the Top 500, and online marketplace Jet.com becoming more competitive on pricing midday Friday.

Boomerang’s analysis involved examining prices of the best-sellers across five categories: consumer electronics, toys, health and beauty, housewares, and video games and movies. The company chose 200 of the most popular products based on Amazon.com Inc.’s best-seller rankings in each category and monitored prices and discounts daily.

Jet.com undercut Amazon (No. 1) on popular health and beauty products the morning of Black Friday, while Wal-Mart (No. 3) and Target lowered prices but were still 12% more expensive than Amazon, Boomerang found.

Wal-Mart did not provide specifics on e-commerce sales, but Boomerang Commerce data found the retailer was adapting its pricing strategy as Black Friday progressed. “Wal-Mart continues to be the most expensive retailer in the Toys category and is less competitive on hot/popular toys for Black Friday compared to the pre-Black Friday Period,” according to Boomerang, which said Wal-Mart’s toy prices averaged 17% higher than Amazon’s prices. In the Consumer Electronics category, Wal-Mart started Black Friday 31% higher than Amazon but as of midday was just 12% more expensive.

Wal-Mart planned for Black Friday 2015 for more than a year, Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S., said. “We’ve said this Black Friday would be the most integrated between Walmart stores and Walmart.com­‑-and we delivered. Tens of millions of customers visited our digital and physical aisles to pick up video games and systems, televisions, movies and toys, many of the top items sold both on Walmart.com and in stores. And, they prepped beforehand–more than 25 million customers accessed store maps and the circular through our online and mobile tools for Black Friday,” he said in a statement.

Boomerang Commerce’s data shows Wal-Mart and Target started beating Amazon prices on Thanksgiving Day and maintained their position on popular products in this category as of Black Friday morning.

Discounts picked up as Thanksgiving Day went on, according to Adobe data. Adobe reported that online discounts early Thursday averaged 23%, less than last year’s 25%, but by day’s end products were discounted by 26% on average, eight-tenths of a percentage point more than in 2014.

In the United Kingdom, e-commerce conversion rates, as measured between 12:01 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Black Friday among a cross-section of retail clients, were up 94% compared with 2014, according to data from Salmon Ltd., an e-commerce consultancy whose clients include U.K. grocery chain Sainsbury’s, No. 16 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Europe 500.

Ken Wood is the founder of LJM Consultants. LJM helps clients negotiate “Best in Class” UPS/FedEx agreements. LJM was recently named the “best parcel auditing company in America” and was also inducted into Inc. Magazine’s Top 500/5000 fastest growing companies in America for 2013. To learn how LJM Consultants can help your company get the parcel contract you deserve, call 631-844-9500 or email kenwood@myLJM.com.