Online shopping hits new record, topping $5B, Adobe Analytics says


Shoppers flocked online on Thanksgiving in record numbers, spending an unmatched $5.1 billion even as concerns regarding a prolonged economic downturn prompted by rising COVID-19 cases looms.

According to data from Adobe Analytics, online sales surged nearly 22% over 2019 when sales hit $4.2 billion, indicating that the resurgence of cases nationwide continues to keep shoppers out of stores while forcing them to make more purchases online.

The figures aligned with Adobe's earlier prediction that online holiday shopping would "shatter" all records from years past.

Unsurprisingly, larger retailers saw the biggest growth, with a 233% increase in sales Thursday over the October daily average. Comparatively, smaller retailers saw a 154% increase.

However, retailers that implemented curbside pickup saw 31% more traffic to their website compared to those who didn't. Analysts expect this to become "even more pronounced" as free and less expensive shipping options become scarce as Christmas inches closer, according to analysts.

While Thanksgiving garnered record-breaking sales, analysts say "it didn’t come with the kind of aggressive growth rate" seen at the start of the pandemic.

(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Even still, analysts issued an upbeat forecast for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, projecting that both days will still become the two largest online sales days in history.

"While COVID-19, the elections and uncertainty around stimulus packages impacted consumer shopping behaviors and made this an unprecedented year in ecommerce, many consumers are still holding off on remaining gift purchases until today and Cyber Monday in hopes of scoring the best deals," Adobe Digital Insights director Taylor Schreiner said.

Adobe projects that Black Friday online will garner between $8.9 billion, an increase of 20% compared to last year, and $10.6 billion, an increase of 42%.

Based on the current data, Adobe reaffirmed its earlier projection that U.S. consumers will spend a total of $189 billion online from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, which is a 33% growth from 2019.

However, this projection excludes any potential economic stimulus package as well as any new lockdown restrictions that could materialize if cases continue to rise.