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5 e-commerce predictions for Black Friday weekend

November 10, 2014, 10:07 PM UTC
Shoppers Take Advantage Of Black Friday Deals
Photo by Joshua Lott — Getty Images

‘Tis almost the season, what with Black Friday—or really, Black Thursday —just about two and a half weeks away now, more and more stores decked out in Christmas decorations and Jack Frost is nipping at a bigger and bigger swathe of the country.

While the average American has been indolently lurching toward the holiday season, retailers have been bracing for an ultra-competitive fight. (AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) got out of the gate with a heavy flow of early deals, while Macy’s (M), Kohl’s (KSS) and J.C. Penney, (JCP) among others, are opening earlier on Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) than ever. In the digital realm, businesses are also gearing up for quite a fight: Penney and Target (TGT) have each just released updated mobile apps, cognizant of how much customers use their phones while shopping to compare prices, read reviews and check whether an item is in stock.

Adobe Systems (ADBE) has analyzed 20 billion visits to e-commerce sites made in October and mined data from the 2013 holiday season to make the following predictions:

1. Thanksgiving will be a record day for online sales, rising 27% this year to hit $1.35 billion, in large part thanks to the earlier store openings and better co-ordination of e-commerce with store activity by retailers.

“The fact that stores are open on Thanksgiving has caused the consumer’s online patterns to shift too,” Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst, Adobe Digital Index, told Fortune.

2. Thanksgiving will be the most mobile shopping day of the year, with 31% of digital sales made via a smart phone or a tablet, compared to 21% last year.

3. The best online deals will be had on Thanksgiving Day itself. Adobe expects the average discount to be 24% that day, versus 20% for the whole week.

4. Black Friday will become the fastest growing online sales day of the year, with sales growing 28% to reach $2.48 billion.

Sure, stores are opening earlier on Thanksgiving and that is moving in-store shopping up earlier. But that means a bigger chunk of spending will happen online.

5. CyberMonday is alive and well, despite all the early online deals this year, and should hit $2.6 billion, rising 15%.

Online deals are starting early but some traditions die hard, including spending on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Adobe thinks, however, that in 2015, Black Friday will eclipse Cyber Monday in terms of sales volume.