This was according to Adobe Analytics, the data and insight research arm of Adobe Inc, which tracks e-commerce growth by analyzing transactions on the websites of American retailers. Adobe Analytics has access to data covering approximately 85 percent of the top 100 internet retailers in the United States.
The firm found that online spending on Black Friday rose by 2.3 percent compared to last year's Black Friday. The surge is attributed to many consumers holding out for holiday discounts despite many retailers also offering similar deals starting as early as October. Adobe Analytics' forecast predicted Black Friday sales to rise by a modest one percent. (Related: Classic Thanksgiving meal now 20% more expensive due to food inflation.)
On Saturday, known as Small Business Saturday, when consumers are urged to shop with local and independent retailers, Adobe Analytics' data showed that smaller retailers with revenues of between $10 million to $50 million are still struggling with today's uncertain economic environment. Online sales for small retailers grew three times less than those of retailers with over $1 billion in annual revenues.
On Thanksgiving Day, consumers shelled out an all-time high of $5.29 billion online, up 2.9 percent compared to last year's Thanksgiving. Shoppers only typically spend between $2 billion to $3 billion online in a day, according to Adobe.
Over the weekend, consumers are also expected to spend $4.52 billion on Saturday and $4.99 billion on Sunday in online sales alone. On Cyber Monday, Adobe Analytics expects online shopping to top even the Black Friday record by driving an additional $11.2 billion in spending, up 5.1 percent from last year's Cyber Monday, as consumers once again take advantage of holiday discounts during the year's biggest online shopping day.
This means that the entire Cyber Week – the period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday – is expected to generate around $35 billion in online spending alone, up nearly three percent from last year's Cyber Week and representing an over 16 percent share of the full holiday season sales from November to December.
Adobe also noted that 48 percent of all Black Friday shoppers made their purchases using their smartphones, an increase from last year's 44 percent.
More and more American consumers used flexible payment plans to make their Black Friday purchases as they continue to grapple with high prices and inflation.
"As Black Friday hit record spending online, we're also seeing more prominent signs of a budget-conscious consumer this year," noted Vivek Pandya, lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights. "Shoppers are embracing the buy-now-pay-later payment method more this year to be able to buy desired gifts for family and friends."
Buy Now, Pay Later payments increased by 78 percent on Black Friday compared with the past week beginning on Nov. 19, and Buy Now, Pay Later revenues are up 81 percent for the same period.
Online Black Friday sales were led by toys, electronics and fitness products, which surged 285 percent, 221 percent and 218 percent, respectively, over an average day in October.
Some of the most popular items this year include gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, children's toys like Funko Pops and Bluey dolls, video games like "Fortnite," "Roblox," "FIFA 23," "NBA 2K23" and "Pokemon Scarlet & Violet" and children's movies like Disney's "Encanto."
Other big sellers this year include drones, Apple products like MacBooks and Dyson products.
Learn more about the state of the American economy at Bubble.news.
Watch this clip from Fox News discussing how President Joe Biden is shopping during the holidays while families have to deal with inflation.