Consumers spent $4 billion on Thanksgiving day, tally up 14.5%

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 243 views 

Consumers turned out big on Thanksgiving Day, doling out some $4 billion in holiday spending, according to Adobe Analytics. That marked a 14.5% jump in sales from a year ago and is a record for Turkey Day spending.

While a number of retailers had brick-and-mortar stores open, more consumers chose to shop online. Adobe said buying through email promotions (9.4%) and via social media (20%) made up the two fasting-growing ways consumers spent their holiday budgets. Paid search generated 24% of the purchases on Thanksgiving Day and 24.4% of purchases were made via smartphones.

Adobe said e-commerce giants Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, Target and Costco are seeing the biggest sales increase this holiday season – cumulatively at a 244% sales increase. Smaller retailers with revenue less than $50 million annually, saw a 61% sales increase this Thanksgiving Day.

While Thanksgiving Day is the official start of the holiday season, there is one less week this year in the season. Adobe said e-commerce retailers also had a stellar Black Friday with digital sales rising 20% to $7.4 billion across 4,500 retail websites. Adobe said Black Friday was the second-largest online shopping day in history, behind the $7.9 billion in sales recorded on Cyber Monday last year.

Adobe also reports a 43% uptick in online orders that were picked up in stores. Adobe said the average online order rose 6% to $168 this year. Walmart made it easy for customers to lock down holiday promotions online several hours before they become available in stores. They could then pick up purchases in-store at a later time to avoid the crowds and long lines.

RetailNext reported U.S. mall traffic was down 2.1% on Black Friday. Inclement winter weather across the Midwest and cold rain throughout the South likely kept more consumers at home shopping from their couches.

Cowen & Co. reports Black Friday store traffic as calm this year. Oliver Chen of Cowen expects online sales growth to range between 20% and 30% this holiday season with total sales growth of 2% to 3% for the season, more conservative than the 3.8% to 4.2% sales growth expected by the National Retail Federation. Chen pegs Walmart and Target as those best positioned to benefit this holiday season because of their strength in omnichannel, broad product assortments and options to pick up in stores.

Chen said “promotion commotions” could be rampant this year among retailers with fairly high inventory levels. Other analysts say retailer inventory levels are in good shape heading into the holiday season and much of the promotion is factored into the sales prices or planned. That is true particularly in apparel which is one of the more troubled categories this year, according to Evan Clark, an analyst with Women’s Wear Daily and a CNBC contributor.

Adobe expects Cyber Monday sales will reach a record $9.4 billion this year. The five days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday will account for about 30% of the total holiday spending. The peek shopping time for Cyber Monday is expected to be early evening and 64 million consumers are expected to take part.