By Ananya Mariam Rajesh and Deborah Mary Sophia
(Reuters) – Deal-hungry Americans snapped up everything from toys to electronics during the five-day long Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday shopping bonanza lured by steep discounts, sales data showed.
A record 196.7 million people shopped during this period, the National Retail Federation said on Tuesday, and total retail sales jumped about 11%, not adjusted for inflation, Mastercard SpendingPulse data showed.
“Black Friday through Cyber Monday has proven to be a pretty solid weekend, which should give retailers some confidence that demand is there to purchase goods,” said Joseph Feldman, analyst at Telsey Advisory Group.
Cyber Monday sales rose to $11.3 billion from a year earlier, making it the biggest U.S. online shopping day in history, according to Adobe Inc’s data and insights arm Adobe Analytics.
Pokemon cards, Hot Wheels, PlayStation 5s, Smart TVs and Apple AirPods were among the best-sellers.
Retailers started promotions and discounts as early as October this year, but some inflation-weary shoppers delayed their holiday shopping until the Black Friday weekend on hopes of finding the best deals.
“Many observers predicted this was going to be a big weekend … it’s turning out to be even bigger than we expected,” NRF President Matthew Shay said.
Major retailers including Target, Macy’s and Best Buy have signaled a return to pre-pandemic shopping patterns during traditional single-day shopping events.
Wall Street is looking for a readout on what the data suggests for the key holiday quarter, though these five days make up for only about 10% of overall sales in the period and may not be a great indicator of the health of the overall economy, some analysts said.
“We are still expecting (the holiday quarter) to be flat year over year … if there is any increase … that will be due to inflation,” said Jessica Ramirez, analyst at Jane Hali and Associates.
Global inflation touched decade highs recently, though U.S. consumer prices last month rose less than expected.
Retailers are also dealing with challenges including strict COVID-19 lockdowns in China, cautious European consumers, a strong dollar that’s hurting international earnings, and a lot of inventory still sitting on shelves, Ramirez said.
“But overall, the consumer is shopping,” she said.
Online toy sales on Cyber Monday jumped nearly eight-fold compared to an average day in October 2022, according to Adobe. Electronics sales rose about five-fold, while sporting goods, appliances and books also saw increases of over 400%.
Cyber Monday sales rose 5.8%, said Adobe, which analyzes purchases at 85% of the top 100 internet retailers in the United States. On Black Friday, shoppers spent a record $9.12 billion online, with spending up 2.3% year on year and beating an Adobe estimate of a modest 1% rise.
Overall global online sales for the cyber week hit an all-time high of $281 billion, according to data from Salesforce, while U.S. online sales gained 9% to $68 billion.
(Reporting by Uday Sampath, Deborah Sophia and Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Sriraj Kalluvila and Sayantani Ghosh)