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Black Friday Sales Surge as Shoppers Embrace in-Store and Online Experiences

Despite concerns about inflation, holiday shoppers turned out in force for Black Friday this year, boosting both in-store and online sales. 

According to the latest Mastercard SpendingPulse data, in-store sales increased by 1%, while e-commerce sales jumped 8.5% during the holiday season. Apparel, jewelry, and restaurant categories saw the most significant growth. This data shows that consumers are still spending despite inflationary pressures and that digital shopping is becoming increasingly popular. 

The latest report from Sensormatic Solutions found that brick-and-mortar store visits increased by 4.6% compared to the previous year, suggesting a resurgence in physical shopping. Retailers' efforts to improve the in-store experience and consumers' desire for social interaction are cited as reasons for this trend. 

In a statement Grant Gustafson, head of retail consulting and analytics at Sensormatic, said

"Though we anticipated an increase in in-store shopper traffic, the actual numbers surpassed our expectations. Consumers are rediscovering the joy of shopping in-store, seeing it as a shared experience with friends and family. Retailers have worked hard to improve the shopping experience and make it more efficient. We think this is a testament to their hard work."

Adobe Analytics' data on Black Friday shopping in the US reveals that online sales reached a record high of 9.8 billion USD, driven largely by strong demand for electronics.

Mobile purchases accounted for a significant portion of online sales, with Adobe predicting that mobile transactions will overtake desktop purchases for the first time during this holiday season. Additionally, the use of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) plans increased significantly, signaling that consumers are willing to extend their holiday budgets.

Most shoppers did their browsing and buying on their phones, with mobile purchases accounting for 5.3 billion USD in sales. Adobe expects that purchases made through smartphones this holiday season will overtake those made by desktops for the first time.

During the Black Friday shopping period, consumers made widespread use of BNPL installment payment plans, which allow them to spread the cost of their purchases over several smaller payments. While some BNPL lenders charge interest or late fees, these plans can be useful for making major purchases or big shopping days more affordable, helping consumers stretch their holiday budgets. Last week, Adobe found that the number of consumers using BNPL plans increased by 72% compared to the previous week.

In addition to Adobe, e-commerce platform Shopify also reported record sales on Black Friday, with a total of more than 4 billion USD worldwide, 22% higher than last year. In the US, the average cart price was 124 USD, and the top-selling categories included personal care products, clothing, and kitchenware. This data suggests that consumers are willing to spend on a variety of items online, particularly items related to self-care and home improvement.

As the holiday season approaches, retailers are gearing up for a busy time, with analysts predicting record sales over the coming weeks. Adobe forecasts that Cyber Monday will be the biggest shopping event of the year, bringing in more than 12 billion USD in sales, 6% higher than last year. 

Meanwhile, Sensormatic predicts that eight of the busiest in-store shopping days will be in December, in addition to the Black Friday weekend. Together, these days are expected to account for 40% of all foot traffic during the holiday season.

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