Cyber Monday and Black Friday merge into one big shopping holiday

Black Friday sales break records

The physical rush of Black Friday and the armchair browsing of Cyber Monday are increasingly blending into one big holiday shopping event as more customers buy items online and pick them up at brick-and-mortar stores.

Adobe Analytics reported Saturday that more customers are going to stores to get items they bought online. That trend contributed to a record $6.22 billion spent online Friday, up nearly 24 percent from last year. But the fastest-growing online shopping day is Thanksgiving. Online sales totaled $3.7 billion on Thursday, up 28 percent from last year.

It's a sign that retailers are merging online business with their physical stores even as fewer people travel to those stores on Black Friday. Walmart, Kohl's and Target are among major retailers that are expanding the number of stores where shoppers can pick up online orders.

Adobe says a record $2.1 billion in sales were done from customers on their smartphones. About a third of online Black Friday sales were made from phones.

Cyber Monday sales projected to top $6.6 billion

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ShopperTrak, which tracks Black Friday foot traffic, reported Saturday there was a 1.7 percent decline from last year. But the research firm predicts that eight of the season's 10 busiest in-person shopping days are still to come, aided by the fact that this year there are four Saturdays in December before Christmas.

This year's Cyber Monday e-commerce spending is expected to exceed $3 billion, blowing out last year's $2.4 billion, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse trends that measure total U.S. retail sales across all payment types. Much of the online shopping-cart clickage is expected to happen Monday night between 10:00 p.m. ET to midnight.

For perspective, Mastercard SpendingPulse said an average day during the 2017 holiday season produced $1.1 billion in online retail sales in the U.S. This year the retail tracker expects the average holiday shopping day to exceed $2 billion per day. 

Cyber Monday last year accounted for approximately 4.2% of the total online holiday season vs. an average day in 2017 was 1.9% of the season.  Electronics retailers, department store websites and sellers of specialty apparel and jewelry see some of their biggest spikes in sales traffic on Cyber Monday.

"SpendingPulse projections call for growth in dollar terms for Cyber Monday; however, the share that Cyber Monday represents for the season is expected to come down as Thanksgiving, Black Friday and other days of the season diversify and expand the online season," MasterCard reported. "What does this all mean? While we are seeing other days gain share of the season from Cyber Monday, this single day still represents an important shopping event."