Online sales break Black Friday record as clicks beat queues

A woman shopping online

Adobe is projecting $9.4 billion in online sales.

NEW YORK: US online sales are set to hit a new record on this week's "Cyber Monday", Adobe Analytics said, as e-commerce outlets gear up to lure shoppers in the opening days of the holiday season. On Thanksgiving, it estimated sales grew 14.5% to $4.2 billion.

The hottest toys included L.O.L. Surprise dolls and items linked to Disney blockbuster movie "Frozen 2".

For many Americans, the holiday season means shopping and, increasingly, online shopping.

Purchases made by smartphone on Friday accounted for US$2.9 billion in sales, the most ever. Federation Internationale de Football Association 20, Madden 20, and the Nintendo Switch rounded out the top five.

Cyber Monday is believed to be an even bigger draw for sales, with Adobe Analytics estimating $9.4 billion coming from online.

Electronics, including AirPods, Apple laptops and Samsung TVs, are also must have items.

One of the reasons we may be seeing slightly less fervent sales than the analysts had predicted is because the holiday sales season is starting earlier and earlier.

"With Christmas now rapidly approaching, consumers increasingly jumped on their phones rather than standing in line", said Adobe analyst Taylor Schreiner.

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"What all of this really boils down to is the customer journey has changed, now it can start anywhere online, in-store and end anywhere ... and it is about making sure the customer makes the purchase and stays loyal to the brands more than where it happens", he said.

Retail NZ spokesman Greg Harford said there appeared to be "lots of good sales around".

And the shopping sprees are far from over, giving a boost to retailers.

But the site's country manager Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, said shoppers had to be careful, as a year ago some price actually increased over the Black Friday sale weekend.

The other is that the bigger stores often have more flexible delivery options.

Price comparison site PriceSpy found nearly half of Kiwis it recently surveyed were planning to buy something on Black Friday, and uptake on its site showed that stores were getting increasingly competitive, slashing prices ahead of Friday.

It will be interesting to see how and if patterns change for smaller retailers on Sunday, which is being dubbed "small business Sunday" to focus on buying from smaller and independent shops.

With Thanksgiving landing six days later than previous year, retailers invested more into their seasonal advertising and laid out steep discounts for customers on everything from appliances to sporting goods.

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