Online sales during Black Friday reached a total of $6.2 billion, growing 23.6% year-over-year (YoY), according to estimates from Adobe Analytics. This e-commerce growth represents a hearty acceleration from the 16.9% YoY jump that occurred in 2017 and it also beats the 22% YoY increase seen in 2016.
With this boost, overall online shopping in 2018 during the holiday season — between November 1 and December 31 — is on track to outperform 2017, as it's hit $44.2 billion as of Black Friday, compared with $37.1 by Black Friday last year. This year's data indicates that the importance of mobile is on the rise. In 2017, desktop was responsible for 67% of the total revenue generated online during the holiday season, while mobile accounted for 23% and tablets made up 10%.
As of Black Friday 2018, however, desktop is responsible for 60%, mobile for 30%, and tablets remain unchanged at 10%, meaning that to this point, desktop has ceded 7 percentage points to mobile. In addition, smartphones' share of online traffic has ticked up from 46% last year to 49% this year, while its share of purchases has grown from 27% to 30%.
The strong growth in online shopping may be coming at the expense of in-store shopping to a certain degree. Visits by shoppers to physical stores during Thanksgiving and Black Friday have declined 1% YoY in 2018, according to preliminary data from ShopperTrakcited by CNBC. While this is a relatively small percentage, it's part of a larger trend, as physical store visits also fell 1.6% YoY during Thanksgiving and Black Friday last year.
It's possible that this is because retailers are hosting deals earlier, and Black Friday is encroaching on Thanksgiving. Since many stores close for the holiday and many consumers have family engagements, e-commerce may be siphoning share simply because of its convenience.
Retailers should take note of these changes in consumer behavior to stay competitive and let customers shop how they want to. Consumers' shopping preferences can help inform strategy for retailers during the holiday season. For example, a shift toward online spending suggests that in-store exclusive deals may actually be inapplicable to some shoppers.
And a growing emphasis on mobile commerce indicates that retailers need to ensure their online performance is strong, whether via a desktop browser, mobile browser, or smartphone app. Staying current with such trends can help make the difference between a successful or an unsuccessful holiday season.