I remember watching videos of people rushing through the store and fighting for flat-screen TVs on Black Friday. Fortunately, when I was old enough to buy myself a large TV, online shopping had taken over, and there are now much easier ways to enjoy great deals.

For digital marketers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the Super Bowl of online shopping. The 2023 period did not disappoint, with record-breaking sales that show how E-commerce is still growing. While I won’t go into details about this important time (thousands of others have done it successfully), I still want to communicate to my readers the most important insights for this season.

A New Thanksgiving Sales Record

In 2023, according to Adobe Analytics, Black Friday online sales reached new heights at $9.8 billion, which is 7.5% higher than last year. Shoppers did not wait for Black Friday, as sales on Thanksgiving reached new records as well, with a 5.5% growth year over year, and $5.6 billion in total sales in 2023. As expected, TVs, smartwatches, and other electronics were big hits this year, with sales up 152% compared to a typical day in October. According to Salesforce, the biggest areas of growth in the U.S. were footwear and handbags (up 22%), sporting goods (21%), and health and beauty (17%).

Another important insight is that the growth was much stronger online than in brick-and-mortar stores. According to the MasterCard SpendingPulse index, e-commerce sales grew 8.5% on Black Friday, while overall retail sales rose by 2.5%, and should be even higher on Cyber Monday.

Insights on Consumer Behavior

The 2023 sales period was characterized by consumers being especially sensitive to discounts and value deals. Retailers who offered substantial discounts, especially in high-demand categories, saw the largest increase in sales volumes. This isn’t surprising, as consumers faced record inflation and economic conditions seem to worsen.

Mobile sales were at an all-time high this season, as Adobe reported that 59% of all Thanksgiving online sales were made on mobile devices. This shows that consumers are potentially shopping for deals anywhere, at any time.

“Mobile traffic and sales are soaring as people are on the go once again this holiday weekend. Consumers are embracing mobile wallets to break down friction between discovering on social and purchasing on mobile,” said Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce.

Customers also seem to favor alternative payment options, such as buy now, pay later. These new consumer preferences can explain part of the increase in sales, despite the current economic situation and budget considerations.