Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales both top $1B

This is the first time that $1 billion has been spent on Thanksgiving, Black Friday saw $1.5 billion

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 1, 2014
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We've already gotten some indication that e-commerce was going to be up this year, as both pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day sales had risen by double digit margins. But no real data was given, only percentages. That, unfortunately, makes it a little hard to compare.

Now that we have the raw numbers, though, thanks to a new report from comScore on Sunday so we can see how they actually measure up.

So far, they are looking pretty good as sales for the entire month leading up to, and including, the holiday are so far up 15% year-to year. In 2013, November 1st through the 28th saw $19.8 billion in sales. That same time period in 2014 resulted in $22.7 billion in e-commerce sales.

Thanksgiving Day sales alone, meanwhile, were a lot higher than previously anticipated. So high, in fact, that they set a record: a total of $1 billion was spent on Thanksgiving Day, up from only $766 million in 2013. That is a 32% increase, much higher than the 14% that IBM had reported last last week

What is so significant about the $1 billion marker is that this is the first time in history that much has been spent on Thanksgiving Day. The first time it happened on Black Friday was back in 2012

Speaking of Black Friday, that day obviously would not be outdone by Thanksgiving, so it too had to set a new record, reaching a total of $1.5 billion, up 26% from $1.2 billion last year. 

"Thanksgiving and Black Friday both saw exceptionally strong online growth rates as each day surpassed $1 billion in desktop spending," comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni said in statement.

The big numbers indicate a few things, he said, "including overall health in consumer spending, responsiveness to the strong deals being offered online, and perhaps some shoppers opting to stay home on Thanksgiving rather than head out to the stores that opened their doors early."

And it should be noted that these numbers are only for desktop spending, and don't even include mobile, so they going to wind up being even higher. 

Despite all the good news, not everyone is so up on this holiday season. Perhaps Fulgoni was right about people simply staying away from stores, as the  National Retail Federation reported a decrease this year in overall spending; it is now expected to reach $50.9 billion, down from $57.4 billion last year.

What caused this? According to the NRF, it was partially due to early holiday promotions, as well as  "the continued growth of online shopping, and an improving economy."

Meanwhile Cyber Monday, the last big shopping day of the season, is expected to see fewer overall shoppers this year, 126.9 million down from 131.6 million last year. 

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