Friday kicked off earlier than ever this year.
- Online sales on Wednesday hit $2.4 billion, a 31.8% increase
from 2017. As of 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, shoppers had spent
another $1.75 billion online, up 28.6% from last year.
- The explosive growth in online sales creates problems for
some retailers, as companies including Walmart, GameStop, and
Lululemon dealt with technical difficulties online on
Friday now officially starts on the Wednesday before and in
the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. And, that’s not
necessarily good news for retailers.
Shoppers spent $2.4 billion online on Wednesday, a whopping 31.8%
increase from 2017, according to Adobe Analytics data.
By 10 a.m. Thursday morning, shoppers had spent another $406
million online. By 5 p.m., they’d spent $1.75 billion,
representing 28.6% growth compared to last year.
The skyrocketing sales represent an increase in online shopping
more generally, as well as a Black Friday sales “day” that is
shifting earlier and earlier.
“Pre-Thanksgiving deals appear to have enticed consumers to
spend a little earlier as we saw our second $2 billion day of the
holiday shopping season,” Taylor Schreiner, Adobe Digital
Insights’ director, said in a statement.
However, not every retailer was fully prepared for the increase
in shopping on Thanksgiving Day and the day before.
The downside of success
Shoppers on Walmart’s
dealt with technical difficulties on Wednesday evening. GameStop
issues on social media. And, Lululemon’s website crashed on
Thursday, apparently buckling under traffic.
“We knew it would be a busy day, and I suppose technology got
away from us this time around,” Lululemon’s
on Facebook. “I totally understand that
this can be frustrating as someone trying to shop online, and
know that we’re doing everything we can to rectify the
situation as soon as possible. ”
According to Bob Buffone, chief technology officer at web
optimization software company Yottaa, companies’ problems were
likely rooted in not having the infrastructure to handle the
“If you have not load tested your site at five times normal
traffic volumes, your site will probably fail,” Buffone told
Business Insider on Thursday.
Not being properly prepared for Black Friday is even worse than
having a site crash on any other shopping day.
“It’s easy to go to a different site and spend their holiday
money elsewhere,” Buffone said. “Depending on how long the site
is down, it can cost retailers a lot of money and also result
in damage to the brand as shoppers take to social media to
express their frustration.”
In addition to technical issues, earlier shopping can mean
deals selling out earlier. Doorbusters are, by nature, limited.
But, earlier sales
— which can result in frustration for shoppers who are used to
a more traditional Black Friday shopping schedule.