Shoppers no longer need to beat a path to stores on Black Friday. With an astounding 32%* digital growth on Black Friday, the tide has officially shifted online as consumers are unshackled from the doorbuster sales of year’s past, and are free to shop on their own terms. What’s defining this holiday shopping season? Mobile, personalization and tremendous overall digital growth. In fact, Black Friday will retain its crown as the biggest digital shopping day of the season.

And incredibly, these already huge digital shopping days are only accelerating. The combined 31.7% revenue growth of the first two big days of the holiday shopping season, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, is double the 15% growth rate in Q3 of this year. When it comes to holiday shopping, shoppers now overwhelmingly choose digital.

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Personalization Delivers Outsized Impact on Revenue

Retailers are seeing the impressive impact of personalization even on the biggest digital day of the season; while 6% of shoppers engage with product recommendations, those shoppers account for 30% of all revenue.

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Mobile Dominates; Computers Fall Below 50% of Orders

This year, phones accounted for 60% of traffic to retail sites, up from 53%. That’s just slightly lower than Thanksgiving Day, but we do expect Friday’s mobile traffic to outpace Cyber Monday’s. Shoppers aren’t just browsing on phones, however, as 42% of Black Friday orders were placed from a phone. This year represents a watershed for the shift to mobile, as this was the first Black Friday where computers accounted for less than half – 49% – of all orders. Even bigger mobile days await, as the weekends during the season and the final few days leading up to December 25 are expected to see even more mobile shopping.

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Discounts Continue to Attract and Deliver

As expected, discounts were a big draw on Black Friday; orders were discounted by an average of 28%, and 85% of those orders shipped for free. Shoppers should expect to continue to find deals throughout the weekend and Cyber Monday. However, discounts cooled dramatically after Cyber Week over the past few years (in other words – buy now!).


The Season Starts Fast

While the season is still early, based on the previous year’s activity, we expect that nearly one-fifth of all digital shopping is now complete, and by the end of Monday, more than one-third of digital holiday spending will be complete.

Here’s the flash report for digital commerce on Black Friday:

  Metric   Value   Compared to Last Year
  Revenue Growth       32%*   Up from 21% growth from previous year
  Traffic Growth   21%*   Up from 19%
  Mobile Traffic Share   60%   Up from 52%
  Mobile Order Share   42%   Up from 34%
  Social Traffic Share   4.7%   Up 12% from 4.1%
  Average Order Value (AOV)   $122   Up from $120
  Discount Rate   28%   Up from 27%
  Free Shipping   85%   Down slightly from 84%
  % of Shoppers the Engaged with Ai-Powered Recommendations     6%   New metric
  % of Revenue Driven by AI-Powered Recommendations   30%   New metric

Salesforce Powers Personalization for Retailers on Black Friday

Salesforce combed through its wealth of data, including the activity of millions of global shoppers and billions of commerce transactions, billions of emails sent, millions of mobile notifications, and millions of AI-powered recommendations using Salesforce Einstein, to analyze the busiest time of year for the retail industry. Here’s how Salesforce helped retailers power shopping, marketing, and personalization this Black Friday:

  • 94 million AI-powered product recommendations via Commerce Cloud
  • 11 million personalized pages delivered for consumers
  • Nearly 3 billion emails sent
  • Over 82 million SMS and mobile push notifications delivered
  • 8.8 billion data collection events captured

Stay tuned for additional flash reports throughout Cyber Week. And be sure to catch the next episode of Retail Reality Check, on Facebook Live and Twitter, Tuesday at 2PM EST for a complete Cyber Week recap. Wondering what else to expect this season? Here’s my take.

And don’t forget to check out the quarterly Shopping Index, where we analyze the online shopping activity of over half a billion global shoppers.

This shopping flash report provides a snapshot of digital commerce metrics, focusing on the busy Christmas Holiday Shopping Season. The analysis reflects a comparison of digital commerce sites transacting during both last year’s and this year’s shopping season, across the globe, with a focus on direct-to-consumer brands and retailers in North America and Europe. The data presented here is not indicative of Salesforce Commerce Cloud operational performance.

*Updated from previously reported 24% revenue growth and 19% traffic growth.