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Black Friday Online Sales Hit Record High

By Edge Ison , Nov 26, 2016 03:07 AM EST
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Most retailers were banking on their online deals to boost their sales this Black Friday. As it turns out, this year's version of the holiday shopping bonanza is breaking online records.

According to Adobe Digital Index, online spending as of Friday evening has reached more than $1 billion. That figure is 14 percent more than last year's record. Another $1.15 billion were spent by mobile shoppers last Thursday starting at midnight until 5 p.m. ET.

Reuters cited some analysts who said that the "increase in customer traffic paled in comparison to the jump in online sales".

Target, for one, reported a double digit increase in online sales. Brian Cornell, chief executive of Target said, "We saw one of our strongest days ever online."

Some retailers had to take some drastic measures to help control the chaos usually reserved for physical stores. Macy's, for example, was forced to have customers wait in a virtual line because of heavy traffic on their website. The popular retail store chain had to prevent online shoppers from entering their site thrice.

A multi-week event

Most retail stores took advantage of the influx of mobile shoppers by making their deals available online way before Black Friday. Amazon was one of those companies. In fact, Amazon is an e-commerce company which has been making a killing in past Black Friday Sales.

"Black Friday is no longer a one-day event; it has turned into a multi-week event," said Christopher Baldwin of BJ's Wholesale Club.

Where is everybody?

The normal horde of shoppers was absent this year. The lines were noticeably fewer and shorter and the atmosphere was generally quiet. There still were reports of violence breaking out including two men shot dead in separate accidents. A handful of other shooting incidents were also reported.

Despite the incidents, Black Friday event was generally peaceful. Traffic was subdued across the country, according to Reuters. At stores, the crowd only picked up in the afternoon and even then it was nowhere near previous Black Fridays.

"Initial reports show it's steady and not very busy at stores around the country," according to Craig Johnson of Customer Growth Partners.

Bloomberg sees the boom in online sales as the "slow death" of Black Friday which will rob the event of its luster.

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