The Biggest Black Friday Ever Saw $7.4B in Online Sales

Top products came from Frozen 2, Nerf and Paw Patrol. Top electronics included Air Fryers, AirPods and Samsung TVs.

People walking with Black Friday promotional posters in the background
After the longest possible wait, consumers were ready to shop when Black Friday 2019 finally arrived.
Getty Images

Black Friday Shopping Insights

The 2019 holiday shopping season is finally underway with $7.4 billion in online sales on Black Friday, marking 19.6% growth year-over-year (YOY).

That’s according to figures from data provider Adobe, and puts Black Friday 2019 $500,000 behind Cyber Monday 2018, which holds the record for the biggest day in U.S. ecommerce to date. Adobe forecasts $9.4 billion in sales on Cyber Monday 2019 for an increase of 18.9% YOY.

Figures from software company Salesforce were slightly lower—$7.2 billion for 14% YOY growth—but Salesforce nevertheless agreed 2019 was the biggest Black Friday ever.

Like Thanksgiving shopping, actual sales figures were slightly lower than anticipated—Adobe predicted Black Friday would hit $7.5 billion and Salesforce expected the day would bring in $7.3 billion.

As of 9 p.m. ET Friday, Adobe said consumers had spent $5.4 billion online, up 22.3% YOY, hitting a rate of $5.3 million per minute in the afternoon. (It’s no Singles Day, but, to be fair, it never is.)

In addition, Adobe said consumers were more comfortable buying bigger ticket items online as the average order value on Black Friday hit a record of $168, up 5.9% YOY.

Again, like Thanksgiving shopping, mobile devices were key.

Adobe tallied $2.9 billion in sales from smartphones, making Black Friday 2019 also the biggest day ever for mobile shopping. According to Adobe’s figures, 39% of all ecommerce sales were made on smartphones, which is a 21% increase YOY. In addition, Adobe said more than half (61%) of all visits to online retailers came from smartphones on Black Friday, which was 15.8% higher than last year.

Similarly, Salesforce said 65% of all digital orders were made on a mobile device, which means mobile orders grew 35% this year.

Large ecommerce platforms, or those with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, are outperforming those with less than $50 million in revenue when it comes to smartphone sales. Adobe found large platforms have 11% more revenue share and are 87% more efficient at converting consumers on smartphones. These ecommerce giants have also seen a 45.6% boost in sales so far this holiday season, compared to the 17.6% boost among smaller retailers.

Adobe said Buy Online Pick up In Store (BOPIS) orders were also up 43.2% YOY, and added it indicates even customers who don’t want to shop in stores “nonetheless flocked there to pick up goods.” Adobe also said it’s a sign “retailers are successfully bridging online and offline retail operations.”

In terms of social mentions on Black Friday, Salesforce said the five most-talked-about brands worldwide were: PlayStation, Nintendo, Apple, Xbox and Google. The five most-talked about retailers included: Amazon, Walmart, Target, GameStop and Best Buy.

Adobe said the top products on Black Friday came from Frozen 2, Nerf and Paw Patrol. Top electronics included Air Fryers, AirPods and Samsung TVs.

In a similar vein, Adobe said shoppers saw the heaviest discounts on televisions with an average discount of 18.6%, as well as 17.5% on computers and 14.4% on toys.

Meanwhile, merchants on ecommerce company Shopify’s platform made more than $900 million on Black Friday from more than 9.3 million consumers who spent an average of $84.49. In line with shopping behaviors outlined above, Shopify said 69% of Black Friday transactions were on mobile devices.

As Black Friday was drawing to a close, Adobe reaffirmed its holiday season forecast of $143.7 billion online as shoppers spent $57.2 billion online between Nov. 1 and 28.

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