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2023 Thanksgiving and Black Friday Report

Melissa Dixon

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The numbers are in, and this holiday season is poised for record sales growth. 

Despite macroeconomic headwinds of enduring inflation and rising interest rates, experts still predict another year of record holiday spending. The National Retail Federation (NRF) projected U.S. holiday sales to grow between 3% and 4% over the course of the holiday season to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. 

Early holiday shopping results in October pointed to consumers’ resilience with a spend increase of 5.9% YoY, reported by Adobe Analytics. Similarly, BigCommerce customers saw positive numbers when it came to online orders, gross merchandise volume (GMV), and average order value (AOV) for the month of October versus the previous year. 

And while plenty of consumers got a head-start on the season, shoppers around the world have also been gearing up for the traditional Cyber Week deals and discounts during the five-day span from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. 

Here’s a look at Cyber Week performance so far on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Methodology

BigCommerce’s holiday shopping data is based on a comparison of same store platform sales that occurred between November 24 – November 25, 2022 and November 23 – November 24, 2023. It represents information from thousands of brands and retailers selling on the BigCommerce platform. Unless otherwise noted, the data is global.

A record year for Thanksgiving online sales 

With mobile e-commerce sales steadily on the rise and more brick-and-mortar stores opting to close on Thanksgiving, it’s no wonder the U.S. holiday has become a major ecommerce shopping day — a careful balancing act of family time and finding the best deals online. 

Interestingly, the trend is not unique to the U.S., as BigCommerce customers have experienced positive YoY growth on a global scale for GMV, AOV, and orders each Thanksgiving Day since 2017, and this year was no different. 

The upward trend continued with BigCommerce stores experiencing a double-digit 14% increase in GMV on a same-store-basis on Thanksgiving Day 2023 compared to 2022 — a significant outpacing of the broader global online industry increase of only 1%, as reported by Salesforce.

Additionally, BigCommerce total orders increased by 5%, and average order value (AOV) was 8% higher YoY on a same-store basis for Thanksgiving Day, whereas Salesforce reported a global online AOV increase of only 2%.

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Black Friday online sales continue to rise

Once known for its in-person doorbuster deals and ruthless shopper antics, Black Friday has seen steady ecommerce growth over the last several years — largely due to exponential ecommerce growth catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As major retailers began launching Black Friday sales events as early as October, experts wondered if shoppers might bypass Black Friday this year. In fact, a recent survey by YouGov indicated that more than half of Americans weren't planning to shop on Black Friday at all this year. 

It's no surprise, then, that Black Friday sales weren't as eye-popping as in previous years; nevertheless, ecommerce sales for the day still reached $70.9 billion globally, according to Salesforce.

BigCommerce customers likely breathed a sigh of relief as Black Friday GMV increased by 6% on a same-store basis compared to 2022. Additional key performance indicators followed suit, with a 5% increase in total orders YoY and a 1% increase in AOV YoY on a same-store basis.

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The final word

The first two days of Cyber Week paint a clear picture of what many retailers suspected heading into this holiday season: the retail landscape has returned to more traditional growth rates after a pandemic-driven boom. 

Shoppers continued to look for major savings on the traditional big deal days over the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. And while the holiday season now stretches longer, the traditional Cyber Week shopping days still show positive ecommerce growth. 

“On Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, BigCommerce customers grew sales 9% relative to the same days last year on a same-store basis, which is higher than industry-wide US ecommerce growth through the first three quarters of the year,” said Brent Bellm, CEO at BigCommerce. “We attribute the above average performance of BigCommerce merchants to our platform’s leading enterprise capabilities, performance, and strong sitewide conversion rates.”

In Q3 across all Enterprise plan stores using BigCommerce’s hosted Stencil platform, checkout, a flagship payment processor, PayPal Wallet and ApplePay, BigCommerce customers’ sitewide conversion rate averaged 2.69%, which is 34% higher than the Q3 internet average, reported by to IRP Commerce. Also in Q3, sitewide checkout conversion for Enterprise customers using BigCommerce’s native checkout, a flagship payment processor, PayPal Wallet and ApplePay, averaged 61.4%. 

BigCommerce delivers higher checkout conversion due to an optimized one-page experience, choice of best-in-market payment providers, optimal integrations, and unmatched customization capabilities for a SaaS platform.

Stay tuned for our full Cyber Week Report with data insights from the entire week, including Cyber Monday. 

Melissa Dixon

Melissa Dixon is an accomplished content creator and people leader who has developed award-winning, original content programs for industry-leading brands. She is currently Director, Content Marketing at BigCommerce where she leads the company’s global content strategy, designed to educate and empower ecommerce businesses of all sizes.