Thanksgiving spirit trounces cost of living concerns in Black Friday analysis

Woman looking at mobile phone and holding shopping bag
(Image credit: Shutterstock / leungchopan)

Black Friday (BF) sales are continuing to attract shoppers en-masse, despite inflation and the Russia-Ukraine conflict raising the cost of living, according to new research by Adobe and Salesforce.

As reported by Diginomica, sales at physical stores may be up, with Walmart reporting in Q1 2022 that its ecommerce growth had slowed to as little as 1%, but economic strains have had little effect on online Black Friday sales, with Adobe claiming that Americans spent $9.12 billion online on Black Friday in 2022 alone, an increase of 2.3% from 2021.

Salesforce, meanwhile, claims that wages not rising with inflation is taking its toll on the number of products people are buying. The current average order is 3.5 items, down 2% year on year. Despite this, the average order value has risen from 0.6% year-on-year.

Black Friday’s international impact

The company also claims that price variations in the US directly affected common gift item categories, with electronic items being 34% more expensive this year, and beauty products seeing a 15% price reduction on average.

While Adobe’s data exclusively covers US spending habits during the holiday season, Salesforce are able to offer a global picture that suggests that Black Friday may not have quite so much of a draw internationally.

Black Friday sales rose globally by three percent year-on-year in 2022, but parts of Europe were less impressed, with the UK and Ireland’s online Black Friday revenues falling by 13%, and the number of orders falling by 11%.

TechRadar Pro recently reported, according to delivery management firm nShift, UK parcel deliveries in 2022 increased by 8% on Black Friday and 30% on Cyber Monday. 

Taken together with Salesforce data, this seems to be an inversion of the US situation, with shoppers buying more but spending less.

The European picture isn’t quite so clean either, with Salesforce reporting that online revenues from Germany down 12%, and the number of orders placed down 15%. 

Nshift, however, reported that parcel deliveries in Denmark, for example, saw an 126% increase, and Finland an 58% increase, with several other countries seeing similar rises. While data for revenues for those countries was unavailable, it’s clear that not every European is willing to pass up a bargain.

Salesforce found that Australians and New Zealanders felt the same, with the decline in revenues there being only 1%, while orders placed increased by 3%. Japan, meanwhile saw the biggest declines in growth, with online sales down 34% and orders placed by 17% compared to 2021.

It’s likely that spotty enthusiasm for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals outside of the US isn’t because the rest of the world has gotten bored with imported consumerism, but it’s taking a more reserved approach to the unique financial challenges of the moment, perhaps because Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. 

Businesses, too, may have decided to organise their tech stack instead of investing in new server infrastructure, for instance.

Luke Hughes
Staff Writer

 Luke Hughes holds the role of Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro, producing news, features and deals content across topics ranging from computing to cloud services, cybersecurity, data privacy and business software.