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Black Friday Online Sales Approach $10 Billion 

Americans reportedly spent a record $9.8 billion online during this year’s Black Friday.

That jump in sales — 7.5% over last year — marks a good sign for retailers worried about a slowdown in holiday shopping, Bloomberg News reported Sunday (Nov. 26), citing Adobe Analytics data.

According to the report, the increase in sales was driven by demand for electronics, smartwatches, TVs and audio equipment, with consumers helped by buy now, pay later (BNPL) options, the use of which rose 72% from the week before Thanksgiving.

That’s in keeping with PYMNTS Intelligence projecting that BNPL spending would reach $9.3 billion this month.

“The economic pain of high interest rates and inflation drives consumers to explore alternatives to traditional credit solutions,” PYMNTS wrote last week. 

“BNPL is evolving beyond a mere payment alternative to become a crucial yet practical solution for helping to manage personal finances.”

With costs up and inflation still high, consumers are embracing BNPL for its affordability and as an alternative to high-interest credit card debt. But while it can aid consumers in need, it can also have its drawbacks. 

“Financially vulnerable consumers or those with credit card debt who use BNPL could worsen their situation,” the report said. “Regulators must work to warn consumers and protect them from financial ruin.”

Meanwhile, Mastercard released data showing that eCommerce sales were up 8.5% year over year, while in-store sales were up 1.1%.

“While experiential gifts have been the popular choice the past few years, consumers continue to search for something to unwrap for the holidays with Jewelry and Apparel being the top gift sectors of the day,” the report said. “Department Store sales as well as Furniture and Furnishings continued to lag other sectors compared to 2022.”

Bloomberg also cites separate figures from Salesforce showing U.S. online sales have increased 9% since last year. However, Salesforce also predicted online sales would climb 1% in the days leading to Cyber Monday versus 2022, the slowest rate in at least five years.

Adobe projects a 4.8% increase in revenue, lower than than the pre-pandemic average yearly rate of 13%. Bloomberg noted that the two companies study different transactions, which means their projections vary as well.

As PYMNTS has written, this holiday season will likely see consumers reduce their spending, but not skimp on gifts.

“Consumers plan to spend significantly less this holiday season — 26% less,” PYMNTS wrote Tuesday, citing research from “The Credit Economy: How Consumers Are Approaching Holiday Spending and Travel,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and i2c collaboration.

That report also points out that an expected 2.2% increase in gift spending indicates an effort by consumers to hold onto core holiday traditions in spite of financial pressures. It shows the average holiday shopper expecting to spend roughly $860 this year on holiday purchases such as live entertainment or retail goods for personal use — compared to $1,160 in 2022, while spending on gifts will average about $1,000, a slight increase.