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How Online Merchants Fared on Black Friday 2014

The National Retail Federation caused a stir when it released its annual Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday consumer surveys.

NRF’s Matthew Shay took fingers to keyboard to explain that while there was a lot of focus on the results showing that fewer consumers shopped over the weekend and that those who did shop spent less, the organization’s annual holiday sales forecast remains strong at 4.1 percent higher than last year. “We are highly optimistic that we’ll see that growth.”

Shay said one of the factors influencing the holiday weekend were earlier holiday discounts from retailers both in stores and online. “Consumers didn’t have to wait until Black Friday for really good deals on gifts and items they wanted.” And the discounts will continue, “so the urgency to capture the best deal wasn’t driven by one single day.”

comScore: Desktop Spending up 26% on Black Friday
ComScore, meanwhile reported U.S. desktop retail ecommerce spending for the first 28 days of the November – December 2014 holiday season. was up 15% over last year. Thanksgiving Day saw a significant 32% gain to $1.01 billion in spending, surpassing the billion-dollar threshold for the first time in its history.

And comScore showed Black Friday (November 28) followed with an even stronger spending day with $1.51 billion in desktop online sales, up 26% from Black Friday 2013.

Adobe: Brick-and-Click Retailers Were the Biggest Winners 
Data from Adobe’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping data for the holiday season showed that between November 1 and November 28, $32 billion was spent online, 14% more than in 2013.

It said Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday set new sales records. Thanksgiving Day saw a 25% increase over last year to reach $1.33 billion, while Black Friday saw a 24% increase to $2.4 billion.

Adobe wrote, “The increase in sales was driven by brick-and-click retailers, who saw the biggest jump YoY with nearly 30 percent. Online sales conversions also improved. 3.2 percent of visits resulted in a completed shopping cart, up from 3.14 percent in 2013. The average order value was $149 on Thanksgiving Day, and $142 on Black Friday. The number of people choosing to order online and pickup in-store rose to 45 percent above normal on Thanksgiving Day.”

PayPal: Black Friday Shopping Started on Thanksgiving 
Black Friday purchases ramped up as early as Thursday afternoon, according to PayPal, which noted that on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, 1pm PT was the busiest shopping hour of the day. It predicted that with people going back to work, that pattern could change on Cyber Monday.

Monetate: Conversions Were up on Black Friday 
Shoppers showed up online on Black Friday, according retail personalization technology provider Monetate, which tracked 39,997,175 sessions.

It found overall ecommerce traffic up .9% year-over-year, with conversion rate up 3.5% YoY, and page views up 24.7% YoY.

However, while mobile traffic (phones and tablets combined) accounted for 42.49% of all online traffic (an increase of 20.77% year over year), mobile sales accounted for 26.71% of all online sales (an increase of 12.99%).

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.