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Black Friday online sales increase at a brisk pace and may top $3 billion

November 25, 2016 02:52 PM
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Black Friday online sales are on pace to pass $3 billion in the United States—a record—with mobile revenue projected to top $1 billion for the first time, according to Adobe Inc.’s  Adobe Digital Insights unit.

Sales between 12:01-8:30 a.m. Eastern on Friday hit $490 million, and online sales are expected to increase 11.3% year over year to $3.05 billion, Adobe says. Adobe’s latest insights are based on data from 22 billion visits to retail websites. Adobe measures 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers.

Mobile traffic surged again on Friday, following a record showing for Thanksgiving when $771 million in online sales came from mobile devices, Adobe said Friday. “We anticipate Black Friday 2016 to become the first day in retail history to exceed $1 billion in mobile revenue,” Adobe says.

Online sales for Thanksgiving Day totaled $1.93 billion at 11.5% year-over year-growth, slightly lower than the projected $2 billion, Adobe says. The Thursday total fell short because heavy discounting early in the day ate into revenue growth and online sales were higher than expected on Wednesday, when e-commerce totaled $1.57 billion, up 19% from 2015 and $92 million higher than predicted, Adobe says.

On Thanksgiving, mobile accounted for 57% of retailers’ site visits and 40% of purchases, with 27% or purchases made via smartphone and 13% on tablets, according to Adobe. Conversion rates in the final hours of shopping on Thanksgiving were strong as smartphones increased to 1.9%, tablets to 3.8% and desktop to 4.4%. Consumer spending on tablets increased “significantly” this year, Adobe says, but smartphones continued to increase their share in mobile purchases, driving more than twice as many sales on Thanksgiving Day (27% vs. 22% in 2015) than tablets (13% vs. 15% last year).

Online marketplace eBay Inc. says mobile’s share of purchases on Thanksgiving increased to 38% compared with 35% in 2015, and 9-10 p.m. Eastern was ebay.com’s peak Thanksgiving Day shopping hour on mobile this year.

Retailer clients using e-commerce platform provider WebLinc Commerce experienced a 59% increase in comparable-store revenue on Thanksgiving compared with the same day a year ago, and shoppers spent nearly double the amount per order as they did last year, a spokesman said Friday. Across WebLinc’s more than 200 retailer clients, consumers spent $35.50 more per order on their mobile phones, increasing mobile average order value to $102.63, up 52.9% compared with $67.13 last year, he says.

“Some WebLinc customers could see 75% or more of their total sales come from mobile devices this holiday season,” CEO Darren Hill says. WebLinc is the e-commerce platform provider to seven retailers in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 1000.

Department store chain and e-retailer Hudson’s Bay Co., No. 75 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, is expecting the two additional days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year to benefit sales across all its channels this holiday season, CEO Jerry Storch said Friday. “Black Friday remains the most important shopping event of year, and it starts on Thursday. Internet sales on Thursday and Friday start to rival those [sales] on Cyber Monday, and it doesn’t mean consumers are not going to bricks-and-mortar because there are long lines at all the stores,” he said. Hudson’s Bay is the Canada-based parent company of luxury department stores Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, as well as the Hudson’s Bay chain, outlet store brand Sakes Off Fifth and flash-sale apparel e-retailer Gilt Groupe Inc., which it acquired in February.

E-retailer eBags Inc. (No. 167) says it’s experiencing a high volume of sales on Black Friday, led by mobile shoppers and sales of its own eBags brand of bags?, which were up 115% and the best-selling brand of the 900 brands it carries. By 1 p.m. Eastern, site traffic was up 21%, conversions increased by 16% and international sales were having a record day, co-founder Peter Cobb tells Internet Retailer. On Thanksgiving, sales increased by double digits, with mobile sales growing by 100% and site traffic up 48%, says Cobb, who declines to give sales numbers.

Customer service response times are slipping this Black Friday, according to data from StellaService, which monitors the service web merchants provide consumers.

It’s taking an average of 106 seconds Friday to reach a customer service agent by phone at a retailer’s contact center, up from 104 seconds in 2015. 92% connected consumers to a live agent within 10 minutes, compared with 94% that did so on Black Friday last year. The top performers are L.L.Bean Inc. (No. 34 in the Top 500) at 9 seconds, Net-a-Porter (parent Yoox Net-a-Porter Group is No. 72) at 20 seconds and Lululemon Athletica Inc. (No. 96) at 29 seconds.

Live chat is taking an average of 79 second to connect with a live agent on Friday, 55% longer than the 51 seconds it took to connect last year, StellaService finds. 96% of consumers on Black Friday are connecting with a live agent via chat within 10 minutes versus 97% in 2015. The 79-second average this year is skewed by the bottom performers that are significantly slower than the bottom performers of 2015, says Kevon Hills, senior vice president, operations and insights at StellaService. Among the percentage of chats that connect within 20 seconds, it is in line with 2015 (63% this year vs. 61% in 2015). The top three performers this year are actually all faster than the top performer last year, he says. They are: The Home Depot Inc. (No. 7) at 4 seconds; Kohl's Corp. (No. 19) at 5 seconds and Net-a-Porter at 6 seconds.

StellaService bases the results on five interactions with each of the 30 retailers in its e-commerce index, which includes Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Top 500), Best Buy Co Inc. (No. 12) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4).

 

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