Amazon, Apple and Walmart Look to Be Among Black Friday’s E-Commerce Winners
03 Dec 2019
The Thanksgiving weekend e-commerce sales figures released by the likes of Adobe (ADBE) and Salesforce.com (CRM) have — in a good way — become a little predictable.
What’s arguably more interesting is how online shopping trends continue changing beneath the surface, both in terms of where consumers shop and what devices they use.
Adobe and Salesforce’s Estimates
Adobe, which as a top digital marketing and e-commerce software provider has relationships with many big online retailers, estimates that U.S. consumer e-commerce spending rose 14.5% annually on Thanksgiving to $4.4 billion and 19.6% on Black Friday to $7.5 billion. And as of 10 a.m. Eastern Time, Adobe estimated Cyber Monday sales were up 18.2% on a comparable basis.
For comparison, last year Adobe estimated U.S. online sales rose 28% on Thanksgiving, 23.6% on Black Friday and 19.7% on Cyber Monday.
Salesforce, which also has large marketing and e-commerce software businesses, estimates U.S. e-commerce sales rose 17% on Thanksgiving to $4.1 billion and 14% on Black Friday to $7.2 billion. Last year, the company estimated sales rose 18% on Thanksgiving and 13% on Black Friday.
While Adobe and Salesforce’s estimates differ a bit — no doubt due to differences between each company’s customer bases and data sources — all signs point to U.S. consumer e-commerce spending once more growing at a healthy double-digit clip during Thanksgiving weekend. And that in turn fits with recent quarterly data from the Census Bureau: The agency estimates that U.S. retail e-commerce sales were up 16.9% annually to $154.5 billion in Q3, and 14% in Q2 to $147.1 billion.
And with e-commerce still only estimated to account for about 15% of U.S. retail sales when one excludes car, fuel and restaurant purchases, there’s a good chance that we’ll continue seeing double-digit growth over the next few years, at least provided there isn’t a recession.
Winners, Losers and Mobile Shopping Trends
While Adobe and Salesforce’s estimates for total Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales growth weren’t too different from last year’s estimates, numbers from research firm Edison Trends suggest some big market share shifts took place.
Based on an analysis of about 300,000 transactions, Edison estimates that Walmart, Amazon.com (AMZN) and Etsy’s (ETSY) U.S. Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales rose, respectively, 53%, 49% and 21% this year. On the flip side, the firm estimates Target (TGT) and eBay’s (EBAY) sales fell, respectively, 12% and 17% (related: I think eBay’s stock looks like a value trap).
Even if Edison’s estimate for Amazon’s sales growth proves a little high, it’s an encouraging datapoint for Jeff Bezos’ firm, which in October issued a cautious (and possibly conservative) Q4 revenue outlook to go with a Q3 beat that was fueled in part by its one-day Prime shipping initiative.
Apple’s (AAPL) AirPods sales might have been a Black Friday standout as well. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives estimates more than 3 million AirPods units have been sold since Friday, and noted there could be major AirPods Pro shortages this holiday season. The AirPods Pro are currently sold out at Amazon and other major online retailers, and Apple’s U.S. website shows estimated delivery dates of January 2nd and 3rd (regular AirPods are still widely available).
Ives’ estimate comes a couple weeks after Bloomberg reported (citing people familiar with Apple’s production plans) that total AirPods shipments are expected to double this year to 60 million amid better-than-expected AirPods Pro demand.
Meanwhile, Adobe and Salesforce both indicate (not too surprisingly) that a greater portion of online shopping is taking place on mobile devices, even as many consumers still clearly prefer to place orders on PCs. Adobe estimates 39% of Black Friday e-commerce sales and 61% of retailer traffic involved smartphones this year, while adding these figures were up, respectively, 21% and 15.8% from a year ago.
Notably, Adobe also observes that online retailers with more than $1 billion in annual sales on average get 11% more of their sales from mobile orders, and are a whopping 66% more effective at converting visits into sales. Indirectly, this presents an opportunity for Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) , each of which sell a lot of ads to small businesses and thus have a strong incentive to improve their mobile shopping conversions, and perhaps also for PayPal (PYPL) , given how its checkout and payment services could help boost conversions.
We’ll know a little more about Thanksgiving weekend online sales as firms release their final Cyber Monday estimates and (assuming tradition holds) Amazon issues a press release featuring cherry-picked stats regarding its Thanksgiving weekend performance. But odds are good that the numbers will generally mesh well with what has been reported to date.
By ERIC JHONSA
Source: Real Money