Smartphones are killing Black Friday

  • Overall sales on Black Friday have been steadily declining for years.
  • This year, Black Friday spending was spread out through November with most sales starting Thanksgiving morning.
  • Mobile spending is drastically up on Thanksgiving, making Black Friday more of a season than a one-day event.

November 24 is only one day, but Black Friday’s season is a lot longer than that.

Bargains at America’s largest retailers all started on Thanksgiving, with deals online starting Thanksgiving morning. The deals are still labeled as Black Friday, but they start at least a half a day before November 24.

The move seems to be paying off for retailers. Spending online Thanksgiving was up 29% this year compared to last year, according to data from Salesforce. In 2016, Thanksgiving online sales only increased 17% over 2015, suggesting the rate of the holiday turning into a shopping event is quickening.

Data from Adobe as of Friday showed online sales at retailers on Thanksgiving day at nearly $2.9 billion. The average online order is also up more than 3% on Thanksgiving, Adobe says

Phones have understandably driven the growth of sales on Thanksgiving, counting for 46% of all retailer traffic according to Adobe – an increase of more than 15% over last year. At the same time, traffic decreased from both tablets and desktops, making mobile the most popular option for Thanksgiving shopping for the first time ever.

It’s likely due to a combination of a proliferation of shopping apps and the ease of using a phone to sneak some holiday shopping while at a relative’s house waiting for turkey.

Thanksgiving is now edging out the rest of the Black Friday weekend, making it the third biggest shopping day of the year according to Salesforce.

But it isn’t just Thanksgiving that is leading to Black Friday’s demise. Online sales from November 1 through 22 totaled almost $30.4 billion this year, counting for nearly 18% year over year growth according to Adobe.

Every single day in November so far saw over $1 billion in online sales, creating a new paradigm for both shoppers and retailers. Black Friday isn’t just a day anymore – it’s a whole season.