Black Friday 2023 was off to a strong start by mid-day with sales up 5% over Black Friday 2022. Early sales were being driven by deep discounts sought by consumers who’ve said they intend to buy carefully this holiday season given persistent, if slowing, inflation.
With an estimated 25% of Black Friday sales in the books, Signifyd Holiday Season Pulse Tracker data showed daily sales falling just short of the current season average, which has sales up 6% between Oct. 1 and Black Friday over the same period last year.
The good news for retailers is that Black Friday sales show consumers are prepared to spend on holiday gifts and related items as long as they can find a good deal. Signifyd Data Analyst Phelim Killough said the promising start to Black Friday might ultimately mean that the Cyber Five — Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — would outperform Signifyd’s projection of a 4% increase in sales.
Discounts appear to be the key. In fact, 28% of Black Friday ecommerce orders were accompanied by discount codes by mid-day, up from 22% a year ago. Those discounts averaged a savings of more than 29% for shoppers, up from 24.5% last year.
“Consumers have been telling us for weeks that they would be looking for deals this holiday season. What we’re seeing on Black Friday and on Thanksgiving is that they are true to their word,” Killough said. “We’re also seeing that retailers who really understand their customers are providing significant value during what for many of them is the most important quarter of the year.”
- Sales were up 5% year-over-year
- 28% of orders included discount codes, up six percentage points from 2022.
- Sales in retail segments including alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, apparel, beauty and cosmetics, and groceries and household goods were all higher year-over-year
- Sales in retail segments including luxury goods, home goods and decor, and electronics were all lower year-over-year.
- The number of likely fraudulent orders declined by 30% year-over-year
- For a look at updated Signifyd holiday data, visit its Holiday Season Pulse Tracker.
In fact, 28% of Black Friday ecommerce orders were accompanied by discount codes by mid-day, up from 22% a year ago. Those discounts averaged a savings of more than 29% for shoppers, up from 24.5% last year.
Discounts provide a good news / bad news story for retailers
The relatively robust Black Friday sales provide is good news for retailers. Just how good won’t be clear until the fourth quarter numbers are in. The flip side of higher discount-driven sales is the inevitable hit to profits.
Signifyd Chief Customer Officer J. Bennett talked earlier in the holiday season about how successful retailers are adjusting to current consumer attitudes in the video below.
Black Friday deals are having their effect on pricing and consumer behavior
The increase in discounts this year is clearly having an effect. A Signifyd analysis of more than 175,000 products that were selling in the first half of 2023 shows they were selling for 11% less on average on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
The size of consumers’ orders is holding steady on Black Friday, meaning the average order value has been flat for the day compared to last year. But consumers are placing more orders this Black Friday than last, which accounts for the overall increase in spending.
Hint: Big ticket items are not among the season’s hot gifts
That favorite sweater, bottle of Scotch or at-home spa treatment look to be the gifts of choice this season if Black Friday is any indication. Sales in the retail segment including alcohol, tobacco and cannabis and related products were up 63% during the first half of Black Friday. Apparel sales increased 18%, shaking off a sluggish October. Beauty and cosmetic items’ sales were up 13%, nearly matched by grocery and household goods sales on Black Friday, which increased by 12%.
|Black Friday 2023 year-over-year sales vs. Black Friday 2022 by vertical
|Alcohol, Tobacco & Cannabis
|Fashion, Apparel & Luggage
|Beauty & Cosmetics
|Grocery & Household Goods
|Leisure & Outdoor
|Home Goods & Decor
In keeping with consumers’ general parsimonious vibe, gift categories that contain pricier items saw sales decline year-over-year in early Black Friday data. Luxury goods dropped 1%, while electronics and home goods both were down 6%.
Signifyd’s mid-day Black Friday report is based on data that Signifyd estimates will account for 25% of the day’s sales, as buying historically accelerates throughout the day.
Muted growth on Thanksgiving was in keeping with the season
Thanksgiving continued to show itself as a significant holiday shopping day, particularly online. The holiday celebrating gratitude notched the highest online sales of the holiday season — at least until it was blown away by Black Friday sales numbers.
Consumers were apparently able to find time before and after Thanksgiving dinner and in the midst of an NFL triple-header to work in some holiday shopping.
But in the spirit of holiday 2023, sales on Thanksgiving were up, but modestly, rising 4% over a year ago. The growth slightly lagged the 6% growth Signifyd data shows for the overall holiday season so far.
Not surprisingly, discounts played a major role in increased ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving Day, with the number of orders accompanied by a discount up 41% over a year ago.
|Thanksgiving 2023 year-over-year comparison with Thanksgiving 2022
|Average order value
*Fraud pressure is defined by the fluctuation in the number of transactions that Signifyd models deem very risky.
And, as we’ve seen so far this holiday season — beginning Oct. 1 — discounts helped drive the growth on Thanksgiving Day.
|Thanksgiving Day became Discount Day — statistics 2023 vs. 2022
|Consumers’ use of discounts
|25% (up from 20% last year)
|Average size of discount change
|+12% (average discount = 27.3%, up from 24.4% in 2022
|Average price change, H1 2023 vs. Thanksgiving
Groceries saw big growth on a day dedicated to family, football and food
Perhaps not surprisingly, the grocery segment saw the highest growth on Thanksgiving Day, up 22% over last year. Higher food prices and last-minute dinner additions no doubt fed the spending increase. Some traditional gift categories — apparel, alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, and leisure and outdoor goods all saw significant year-over-year increases.
Other popular gift categories — electronics and luxury goods — had disappointing Thanksgiving showings compared to a year ago.
|Thanksgiving 2023 year-over-year sales vs. Thanksgiving 2022 by vertical
|Grocery and household goods
|Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis
|Fashion, apparel and luggage
|Leisure and outdoor
|Beauty and cosmetics
|Home goods and decor
Signifyd’s Holiday Season Pulse Tracker data is derived from transactions on Signifyd’s Commerce Network of thousands of ecommerce retailers and brands. Commerce Network intelligence also powers Signifyd’s Commerce Protection Platform, which leverages AI-driven machine learning models and data from millions of transactions to detect and block fraudulent activity.
The platform also recognizes and approves legitimate customers, ensuring their orders are fulfilled rapidly. Signifyd is the number-one commerce protection platform among the Top 1000 ecommerce brands including Walmart, Samsung and Philips. Through its network, Signifyd has seen more than 600 million unique shopper wallets globally, meaning that 98% of the time when a shopper comes to a Signifyd-protected site, Signifyd’s machine-learning models recognize the shopper instantly.
For a tutorial explaining the methods and meanings behind Signifyd’s Holiday Season Pulse Tracker visit Signifyd’s YouTube channel.
Photo by Getty Images
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