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Thanksgiving Day online sales soared to record $5.1 billion

A Black Friday unlike any other
A Black Friday unlike any other 02:03

Consumers spent a record amount on holiday gifts and other purchases on Thanksgiving Day, making $5.1 billion in online purchases Thursday, according to Adobe Analytics. That marks a 22% jump from last year's $4.1 billion total for the day.

Small and larger retailers alike have benefited from robust online spending as consumers prioritize safety over in-store shopping. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, large retailers saw a 233% increase in online sales compared to average sales levels during the month of October, according to Adobe. Smaller retailers, with revenues $10 million to $50 million, saw a 154% bump.

"A lot of it has been holiday spending and also migration spending. People are wanting to spend online so they don't have to go to stores, and that can drive up growth," Vivek Pandya, senior digital manager for Adobe Insights, told CBS MoneyWatch. 

Movement to shop Black-owned on Black Friday 04:43

Some consumers are holding out, hoping for better deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

Nathan Burrow, the deals editor at The New York Times' Wirecutter shopping site, which has analyzed retailers' plans, told CBS Moneywatch that consumers will find many of the same sales online as they will in stores.

"We believe most of the items available in the store will be available online, and that's across all major retailers — Best Buy, Target and Walmart," among others, he said. "It would seem that they are trying to drive shopping behaviors toward shopping online and shopping early, rather than driving crowds to the stores on the day itself."

Adobe expects Black Friday sales to reach $10.6 billion, which would be up 42% compared to 2019. 

Popular culture drove some surprising sales trends, according to Adobe Insights. Consumers looking for activities to keep busy indoors, combined with the popularity of Netflix show Queen's Gambit, drove sales of chess-related items 300% compared to a month earlier.

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