In Review – Facts About Black Friday 2021

What did last year's seasonal ecommerce shopping rush teach us all? These facts about black Friday 2021 will catch you up to speed.

The holiday shopping rush is still on, but this year’s Black Friday is well behind us.

The 2020 holiday shopping season saw a rise in new obstacles with COVID-19 and pandemic restrictions, but 2021 had many of its own. As compared to 2019’s Black Friday, the two years that have followed have been encumbered by National labor shortages, global supply chain constraints and the emergence of a new COVID variant in omicron. All of which added up to another intriguing and unpredictable Black Friday.

Here are some interesting about Black Friday 2021 that you probably didn’t know.

Online Sales

Online sales reached $8.9 billion, slightly behind 2020 levels. [Adobe Analytics]

The $8.9 billion reached on Black Friday slightly trailed the $9 billion mark of 2020. According to Adobe Analytics, the number was on the low end of their predictions. Thanksgiving Day online sales also flat-lined at $5.1 billion marking the first time both days failed to boost year-over-year consumer spending.

In-Store Traffic

Physical store traffic rose significantly, but was still well below pre-pandemic levels. [RetailNextSensormatic Solutions]

Some customers reported long lines and extended wait times at stores while others reported malls with few people. The mixed reports accounts for why data from RetailNext showed traffic at brick-and-mortar stores increased by 61% from 2020 Black Friday, but was still 27% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Sensormatic Solutions, another company that tracks in store traffic reported a 48% gain over 2020, but rates were 28% lower from 2019.

Customers Shopped Strategically

According to analysts, the data points to a shifting trend among consumers as they begin purchasing their gifts earlier or in store amid the supply chain crisis.

National labor shortages, global supply chain constraints and warehouse deficiencies have all combined to make a unique problem for retailers, logistic companies and consumers. Customers tend to be well informed on such issues and take great interest in making sure they get their purchased items in time for holiday celebrations. This could account for the increase in customers taking advantage of sales that have been provided to retailers since October, ordering earlier to avoid delays and in person shopping.


BNPL rates increased significantly this holiday shopping season

BNPL services such as Klarna and Afterpay have been on the rise in recent months and several major retailers have implemented option check-out both in store and online. Total BNPL spend and volume for November is up 422% and 438%, respectively since 2019. [Adobe Analytics]

Browsing on Smartphones

Mobile shopping hits a wall

44.4% of online sales were completed through mobile shopping on Black Friday, an increase of 10.4% year-over-year. However, customers prefer browsing deals on their mobile devices before ultimately making their purchase on desktop. Mobile shopping had been expected to surpass 50% of total online sales for years, but that trajectory has since been knocked off course.  Mobile browsing accounted for 62.2% visits compared to desktop, an increase of 2.2% since 2020. [Adobe Analytics]

Curbside Pickup

Curbside pickup continues to thrive

As pandemic restrictions have eased some of the pandemic-era shopping habits have decreased, but curbside pickup continues to thrive. Curbside pickup was used in 20% of all online orders. November curbside services were shown to be up 78% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. [Adobe Analytics]

Top Cyber Monday Sellers

  • Toys: Hot Wheels, Nerf toys, Baby Alive, Paw Patrol, Squeakee toys and Tamagotchi Pix
  • Video Games: Just Dance 2022, Mario Party Superstars, Spider Man: Miles Morales, FIFA 22, Metroid Dread
  • Electronics: AirPods, Apple Watches, Apple Pencils, laptops (HP, Lenovo and Dell), Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite, Xbox Series S, Oculus Quest 2, TVs (Sony and Samsung) [Adobe Analytics]

Need Even More Tips?

We’ve got you covered with the only guide you’ll ever need to help manage, prevent and reduce returns. Learn what the pros do by reading our Ultimate Guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

What did last year's seasonal ecommerce shopping rush teach us all? These facts about black Friday 2021 will catch you up to speed.

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