Adobe Predicts Thanksgiving to be the New Black Friday within 5 Years
Thanksgiving is about to be the new black, according to data from Adobe. Black Friday that is. Online holiday retail sales are growing faster on Thanksgiving Day than on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday — and Thanksgiving could surpass those big ticket shopping days within five years. So much for enjoying a family holiday ...

Online Shopping Trends around Thanksgiving 

Online sales have been growing steadily on Thanksgiving Day. This year, Adobe expects sales to be up 21 percent, according to data it groomed from nearly 500 billion transactions during the past seven years. 

Total online holiday sales will top $2 billion this year, Adobe predicts in the 2013 Annual Holiday Shopping Forecast. Additionally, online sales on Thanksgiving are predicted to top $1 billion for the first time, while Cyber Monday is predicted to top $2 billion for the first time.

That would make Cyber Monday the biggest day of online sales in history, hitting as much as $2.27 billion, a 15 percent increase year-over-year. How did Adobe come up with such specific numbers? Insanely high volumes of data crunching. Adobe has managed to work its digital fingerprints into virtually every online sales network, and the Digital Index team that compiled this report has sliced and diced that data in a hundred ways.

It turns out $7 out of every $10 in online sales will go through a system Adobe touches this year. Its analytics tools are embedded in 72 percent of online sales systems from the top 500 retailers, the company noted.

That's how it generated such specific numbers. In 2012, Adobe predicted $2 billion in online sales, and turned out to be within 1 percent of the actual amount. Besides combing through billions of salient bits, Adobe conducted a first of its kind customer survey to drill into the aggregate data.


Most consumers say they will spend the same amount during this shopping season, but they will be spending a larger portion online.

Free Delivery, Earlier Promos Help Businesses Cash In

Although the holiday shopping season is predicted to be bigger this year than last year, there are fewer shopping days. There are only 27 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this season, compared to 33 in 2012. One less week of shopping translates to a loss of about $1.5 billion, Adobe predicts.

To make up for that loss, retailers should start their holiday promotions a bit earlier this year, Tyler White, an Adobe manager for the Digital Index team, told 

"It's also really important companies have free, expedited shipping to compensate for the short season," he said. Wal-Mart is already heeding that advice with free shipping on select orders of more than $50.

Other strategies companies can use include personalized offers and allowing customers to order items online and pick them up at the store the same day, White said. Wal-Mart and other retailers, including Best Buy, have long offered in-store pickup options. Target, however, only announced in September that it would allow holiday shoppers to make purchases on the web and then pick up the items at one of the chain’s nearly 1,800 US stores.

Using mobile apps that include these strategies is one way of combating the so-called showrooming effect, a trend that has customers browsing in brick-and-mortar stores but purchasing online. About four out of 10 people surveyed admit they use mobile devices to comparison shop online while they are in retail stores, Adobe noted.

Adobe predicts mobile optimized retailers will transact 20 percent of sales via mobile, a 47 percent year-over-year growth. Furthermore, much of that mobile traffic will come on Thanksgiving Day. Many sales start at midnight on Black Friday, and people line up early to get into stores. What will they do while they wait? Shop on their mobile devices, according to Adobe research.

Social media related spending will be flat compared to 2012, although 36 percent of consumers expect to rely on their social networks when making purchase decisions, the report found.

One of the biggest myths of the 2013 shopping season is that the government shutdown will significantly chill spending. It won't, Adobe predicts.