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Black Friday Sales Break a New Record

US retail websites rock an estimated $9B in sales
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 28, 2020 4:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Black Friday online sales hit a new record this year as pandemic-wary Americans filled virtual carts instead of real ones, the AP reports. Consumers spent an estimated $9 billion on US retail websites on Black Friday, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online shopping. That was a 22% increase over the previous record of $7.4 billion set in 2019. Meanwhile, traffic to physical stores plummeted as retailers tried to prevent crowds by cutting their hours and limiting doorbuster deals. US store visits dropped by 52% on Black Friday, according to Sensormatic Solutions, a retail tracker. Traffic was slower in the Northeast and West than in the Midwest and South, said Brian Field, Sensormatic's senior director of global retail consulting.

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Jewelry and footwear saw some of the biggest in-person sales declines, according to RetailNext, a shopping tracker. Apparel sales were down 50%, while sales of home goods fell by 39%. Even with that drop, Black Friday will still likely end up as one of the biggest in-person shopping days in the US this year, Field said. He thinks many people will still shop for the holidays in person, but will choose mid-week days when crowds are smaller. Heavier in-store discounts and concerns about lengthy shipping times could also draw shoppers closer to Christmas. One trend that could remain after the pandemic ends is that stores could remain closed on Thanksgiving Day—a day that's typically not a big day for retailers, and this year many stayed closed.

(Read more Black Friday stories.)

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