E-commerce has shown rapid growth this past decade, and Black Friday 2023 further exemplified how critical online shopping is for retail and advertisers.
Black Friday weekend saw record sales in 2023. While e-commerce saw impressive growth, brick-and-mortar sales only grew by a measly 1.1%.
Sales growth returned to pre-pandemic levels for Black Friday 2023, with discounts drawing in shoppers and persuading them to loosen their purse strings. eMarketer reports that approximately 72% of holiday shoppers, about 130.7 million, planned to shop Black Friday sales in 2023, up from 69% in 2022.
And those plans were kept. Black Friday sales figures grew at a rate higher than expected in 2023, to the relief of retailers across the country. Retail sales in the US increased by 2.5% year-over-year (YoY) on Black Friday according to Mastercard Spending Plus, but the real excitement comes from e-commerce sales, which grew by a whopping 8.5%.
E-Commerce and online shopping see an uptick
Black Friday 2023 saw retailers slashing online prices in addition to their in-store discounts, with the top sales going to apparel and accessories, health and beauty, and home and garden. Online shopping took the lion’s share of these sales, with the average cart price in the US reaching US$107.18.
Canada saw even higher spending than its southern neighbor. While newer to Black Friday shopping traditions, Canadians shopped in droves, with the average cart price reaching US$171.60.
Shopify, one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, says its merchants garnered US$4.1 billion globally on Black Friday, setting a record for the Canadian software giant. Its boon represents a 22% increase from 2022.
Mobile shopping had a come-up
In addition to e-commerce, mobile purchasing saw significant growth on Black Friday 2023.
Ahead of 2023’s shopping madness, Adobe Analytics Black Friday 2023 study predicted that mobile shopping would overtake desktop purchases.
Adobe Analytics was right; the company predicted mobile spending would make up 51.2% of online sales and when all was said and done, 54% of online sales came from mobile devices.
Mobile shopping accounted for US$5.3 billion in Black Friday revenue, a 10.4% increase from 2022.
These sales figures show that customers are becoming increasingly comfortable making purchases through mobile apps. Adobe Analytics expects this to continue, proving the importance of robust mobile capabilities for retailers.
Buy now pay later services incentivized shoppers
There are several reasons why e-commerce saw such significant growth in 2023.
One major factor is the availability of alternative payment methods. Being able to buy now and pay later lets customers with a tight budget stretch their income farther during heavy shopping periods such as the holiday season.
The week of November 18, 2023, buy now, pay later (BNPL) orders increased 72% from the previous week.
BNPL services like Klarna or After Pay let e-commerce customers stretch their holiday expenses over several weeks, making it easier to keep up with costs – something in-store shopping rarely offers.
For many years, retailers have been encouraged to shift focus and prioritize online customers, it’s time that advertisers followed suit. Black Friday 2023 highlighted the importance of e-commerce and global power and popularity.
In addition to focusing on e-commerce, retailers and advertisers need their foot in the mobile game. Mobile spending is increasing year after year; to remain relevant, marketers need to ensure their strategies for Black Friday 2024 include these audiences.