Adobe, which tracks sales on retailers’ websites, said online Black Friday sales this year were 2.3 percent higher than last year, with sales of electronics, smart home devices, toys and fitness equipment seeing the fastest growth. However, some of the increase reflected higher prices rather than higher volumes, as the company’s figures are not adjusted for inflation.
Americans are dipping into their savings accounts and piling up debt on credit cards to shop, said Claire Tassin, a retail and e-commerce analyst at Morning Consult.
“We’re seeing a lot of people relying on savings and debt to pay for a lot of these purchases,” Tassin told CNN Business’ chief business correspondent Christine Romans. “It’s not just credit cards, we’re seeing a lot of people relying on ‘buy now, pay later’ services, which is a new type of debt that American consumers are really embracing.”
Online shopping is expected to remain strong during Cyber Monday. Adobe predicts that US shoppers will spend more than $9 billion on Saturday and Sunday, and that Monday will once again be the “biggest online shopping day” — up more than 5 percent from last year to $11.2 billion.
Adobe previously reported that U.S. shoppers spent a record $5.29 billion on Thanksgiving, up 2.9% year-over-year.
Retailers have reduced the appeal of Black Friday by running holiday promotions online.
But shoppers are returning to many of their pre-pandemic routines, and retailers expect the holiday season to be more typical than the past two years of the pandemic. Shoppers are again expected to buy around key holidays like Black Friday and later in the season in hopes of closing deals.
Inflation has squeezed the budgets of many shoppers this year. Consumers are scaling back on discretionary spending such as furniture and electronics and are becoming more picky about their purchases, retailers said.
The number of people giving gift cards and cash is “a huge increase over last year,” Tasin said, likely because it’s easier for shoppers to “stay on a budget because you control the amount.”
The National Retail Federation expects total holiday sales to rise 8% this year.
–CNN’s Kevin France and Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report.