Amid great speculation this year about consumer spending, U.S. online merchants saw strong sales during the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. Brick-and-mortar stores experienced sales increases, too, although more modest.
This is my eighth annual “Sales Report” for Cyber Week — Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday — following installments from 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
According to Adobe, U.S. online retail sales in 2022 — not adjusted for inflation — increased over 2021 for each of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
American consumers spent a record $5.3 billion online on Thanksgiving day according to Adobe Analytics, up 3% over last year and spurred by the trend of closed physical stores on that day. Merchants appealed to shoppers with big discounts on toys and electronics. Mobile shopping drove 55% of online sales, an 8.3% year-over-year increase.
Adobe Analytics reported a record $9.12 billion in online revenue for Black Friday, an increase of 2.3% over 2021. Analysts’ fears that consumers would curb their spending proved unfounded. Electronics sold well, with Apple Watches and Airpods being popular along with smart speakers and televisions. Toys were a robust category — up 285% over last year, with Fortnite, Roblox, Bluey, Funko Pop!, and Disney Encanto leading the way.
Shopify, the ecommerce platform of many direct-to-consumer startups, reported that its merchants generated $3.4 billion in revenue on Black Friday, a 21% increase year-over-year.
Mastercard SpendingPulse reported that U.S. in-store sales on Friday rose 12% from last year, while ecommerce sales increased 14%.
Adobe Analytics stated U.S. Cyber Monday online sales reached $11.3 billion, the most ever for that day and 5.8% higher than Cyber Monday 2021 and 25% more than this year’s Black Friday online sales. This makes Cyber Monday the biggest online sales day in 2022.
Retailers offered deep discounts in such categories as toys, computers, and electronics. Top sellers on Cyber Monday included Pokémon cards, Legos, Hot Wheels, Disney Encanto, LOL Surprise dolls, and Cocomelon and Hatchimals toys. The top gaming consoles were PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox Series X.
While many merchants began offering holiday deals early in November, consumers waited until Cyber Week’s traditional big shopping days to purchase.
Salesforce data — which includes commerce, marketing, and services — shows global online holiday sales for Cyber Week (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) reached $281 billion (2% over 2021) and $68 billion in the U.S. (9% higher than 2021). While many merchants offered meager discounts earlier in the month, average discount rates rose during Cyber Week.
The top discount categories globally according to Salesforce were general apparel, makeup and skincare, and luxury apparel and handbags.
Adobe reports that the entire Cyber Week — Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday — saw U.S. consumers spend $35.27 billion online, 4% higher than in 2021. Toys were popular throughout the period, with demand driven by discounts from suggested retail prices as high as 33%.
The National Retail Federation said that 122.7 million U.S. consumers shopped in physical stores over Cyber Week, a 17% increase from last year, while 130.2 million shopped online, a rise of 2% over 2021.
According to Adobe, for the first time most online sales during the five days came from mobile devices — 51% in 2022 versus 46% last year. On Thanksgiving Day, mobile devices accounted for 55% of sales, an increase from 51% in 2021. On Cyber Monday, 43% of sales came from mobile devices, up from 40% last year.
As in past years, paid search was the dominant driver of online sales, representing 28% of all online orders during Cyber Week. Eighteen percent of orders came from consumers going directly to retail websites. Email contributed 17%, and organic search supplied 15%.
Curbside pickup waned as shoppers felt more confident about browsing and purchasing in physical stores. According to Adobe, for those retailers that offer the option, curbside pickup was used for 13% of all online orders on Black Friday compared to 21% last year.
Buy Now Pay Later
The use by U.S. shoppers of BNPL during Cyber Week increased, with 5% more orders than last year, according to Salesforce. However, the average order value for U.S. BNPL transactions during the five days decreased by 5%, indicating consumers financed lower-priced goods this year compared to last year.
None of the firms reporting sales figures adjusted them for inflation. Thus revenue increased in 2022, but not necessarily the amount of merchandise.
- Fears that Cyber Week would disappoint did not pan out.
- Consumers showed a willingness to spend but not extravagantly.
- In-store browsing increased over past years although purchasing was modest.
- Ecommerce gains were more robust.