Thanksgiving and Black Friday Results Point to the Rebirth of the Store

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
a man wearing a suit and tie

While the final numbers likely will not be known for a few more weeks, the early returns for the unofficial kickoff of holiday shopping 2017 give retailers reason to celebrate. Holiday 2017 is expected to increase by 3.5% to 4% year-over-year, according to projections by Visa.

Online shopping once again saw the biggest increase in Thanksgiving Week shopping, with Thanksgiving Day digital revenue up 28% year over year. Amazon continue to dominate the digital shopping landscape with around 50% of all online Black Friday sales going to the online giant.

While Amazon’s success over the long holiday weekend is no surprise, the positive results of some of the nation’s leading department store chains is certainly cause to celebrate and delay the “death of the store” for at least another few months. CNBC reported some exciting news on the department store front: Kohl's said it delivered a "record-breaking" Thanksgiving, both in stores and online; J.C. Penney’s website received the most visits of any day so far this year; and Macy's said it's was on track to sell more than one million coats, sweaters and fleece jackets by the end of the weekend.

In addition to the digital sales and the resurgence of the department store, another key development over the early holiday shopping blitz is the resurgence of Thanksgiving Day as a major sales day. Over the past few years, consumers and retailers alike have been revolting against shopping on Thanksgiving, but this year’s results show that Thanksgiving shopping is here to stay.

Salesforce reports that Thanksgiving is shaping up to be the third-biggest shopping day of the year, after Cyber Monday and Black Friday. 

Below are some key statistics from the long holiday weekend. Stay tuned for more coverage of Thanksgiving Week and Cyber Monday as results come in.


  • Online revenue and purchases on Thanksgiving Day grew 28% and 35% respectively year over year. ―  Rakuten Marketing
  • Desktop retail e-commerce spending on Thanksgiving Day saw a 22% gain to $1.57 billion in spending, topping the billion-dollar threshold for the fourth consecutive year.ComScore
  • Shoppers spent a total of $2.9 billion online on Thanksgiving — an 18% year-over-year increase. Adobe Analytics
  • Nearly half of the US apparel market was discounted on Thanksgiving, with an average promotion of 47% off an item's full price.Edited
  • Online sales on Thanksgiving Day was nearly $2.9 billion, and the average online order is up more than 3%.  Adobe Analytics
  • Mobile phones accounting for 46% of all retailer digital traffic— an increase of more than 15% over last year. Adobe Analytics
  • Shoppers placed 48% more orders on phones. For the first time ever, mobile surpassed computers, capturing 46% of all orders, edging out computer’s 45% share, thanks to a 12% increase in conversion rate. ― Salesforce
  • The average digital commerce order was $117, down slightly from $119 last year. ― Salesforce

Black Friday

  • Amazon claimed between 45% and 50% of all online Black Friday sales. ― GBH Insights
  • Black Friday shoppers spent more than $3.5 billion online. – Business Insider
  • 23% of Americans begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday. ― Ebates
  • Orders were discounted by an average of 28%, and 85% of those orders shipped for free. On average, shoppers spent $122 dollars, up from last year's $120 average. ― Salesforce
  • Mobile phones accounted for 60% of traffic. ― Salesforce
  • $2.36 billion in desktop online sales, up 20% year over year, marking the first time it reached the $2 billion milestone from desktop sales alone. ― ComScore
  • Apparel and accessories ranked as the top product category on Black Friday with more than $600 million in desktop sales, followed closely by consumer electronics with more than $500 million. ComScore
  • While brands were promoting Black Friday deals on social media in advance, that was nothing compared to volume of posts day-of and over the weekend. Friday, Nov. 24 had the highest overall volume with 827,286 messages sent. These messages earned 190,540,933 likes; 92,628,741 retweets; and 9,230,697 replies. ― Sprout Social 

Shopping Season So Far

  • Consumers are more comfortable shopping on mobile devices, with smartphone shopping up over the course of the Thanksgiving Week. Mobile revenue grew by 43% and, purchases by 34%. ― Rakuten Marketing
  • 137 million people went to stores over the four-day Black Friday weekend The Balance
  • Sales grew across the three-day period from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to Black Friday by 21% year over year. ― Rakuten Marketing
  • 3.5% to 4% year-over-year growth is expected this holiday season. Online spending is expected to rise 15% to 17%, marking two years of strong e-commerce growth. ― Visa
  • Shoppers will spend an average of $427 between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, up from $400 in 2016. ― Deloitte
  • Eight of the 10 anticipated busiest shopping days still remain, including Super Saturday. This year there are four Saturdays in December prior to Christmas Day. ― ShopperTrak
  • Thanksgiving Day and Thanksgiving Eve (up 31% year-over-year) now serves as the real start of the shopping season.Salesforce
  • 5% of shoppers clicked or tapped on a personalized product recommendation, those shoppers accounted for 28% of all revenue.Salesforce
  • Online sales from November 1 through 22 totaled almost $30.4 billion this year, accounting for nearly 18% year-over-year growth. Adobe Analytics
  • 68% of U.S. adults plan to buy tech gifts this year, spending an average total of $478. ― Statista
  • Shoppers are expected to spend $107.4 billion online this holiday season, which would represent an increase of nearly 14% over last year. ― Adobe Analytics
  • Seven in 10 shoppers will make at least 26% or more of their purchases at Amazon, and 40% will use Amazon for more than half. ― Astound Commerce
  • The average customer using rewards expects to save $149 this season, while one in three expect to save $200 or more. ― Citi Retail Services
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