Black Friday Online Sales Wrap-Up

Posted by Cristina Lucero, Research Associate

‘Tis the season for record-breaking Black Friday online retail sales.  According to comScore, U.S. shoppers spent $816 million online on Black Friday, a 26% increase over 2010.  Approximately 50 million shoppers visited online retail sites on Friday, a 35% increase over last year.  Additionally, shoppers ramped up their Thanksgiving Day online shopping, spending $479 million—an increase of 18% over Thanksgiving Day 2010.  November online spending up to Black Friday hit $12.7 billion, a 15% increase over November 2010 (comScore).

Black Friday, By the Numbers


  • Shoppers spent 3% more per order on Black Friday 2011 vs. 2010 (NPD Group)
  • Interestingly, NPD reported that about 44% of Black Friday purchases were self purchases, up from 33% last year.  This indicates that people still have a lot of gifts to buy this holiday.
  • The average male spent $201.62 online vs. $101.93 for the average female (NRF)
  • The top 3 product categories were (1) clothing, (2) electronics and (3) toys.  Electronics in particular surged this year (23% of Black Friday shoppers bought electronics vs. 8% last year) (NPD).
  • The most-visited sites were (1) Amazon, (2) Wal-Mart, (3) Best Buy, (4) Target and (5) Apple (comScore)



Black Friday shoppers embraced their mobile devices as research tools for finding in-store and online bargains:

  • Mobile traffic to online sites nearly tripled YoY (14.3% on Black Friday 2011 vs. 5.6% last year (IBM Coremetrics))
  • Mobile sales surged YoY (9.8% of total sales vs. 3.2% in 2010) (IBM Coremetrics)
  • The iPhone (5.4%) and iPad (4.8%) accounted for 10.2% of all online retail traffic on Black Friday.  Conversion rates for iPads were 4.6% compared to 2.8% for overall mobile devices (IBM Coremetrics).


Social media also played a big role in Black Friday this year:

  • Shoppers referred from social networks generated 0.53% of all online Black Friday sales, down from 0.55% in 2010, with Facebook accounting for 75% of all social traffic (IBM Coremetrics)
  • There was a 110% increase in discussion volume around Black Friday sales on social networks vs. 2010; conversations centered around sharing tips on how to avoid the rush (IBM Coremetrics)
  • Black Friday was mentioned in nearly 2% of all Internet conversations on Friday.  Approximately 70% of Black Friday mentions came via Twitter; 24% came via blogs (Social Radar).
  • Many big retailers ran social media contests for gift cards or exclusive shopping sprees


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