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Early 2018 holiday shopping breaks peak season records

Following on the heels of China’s 11.11 shopping holiday, numbers are out for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. American shoppers kicked off the start of the shopping season in the United States, spending US$24.2 billion shopping online — 23 percent more than what they spent over the same five days in 2017.

American consumers spent a record $6.2 billion in online sales on Black Friday, amounting to a 23.6 percent increase over the prior year, according to statistics released by Adobe Digital insights. Mobile device sales accounted for 33.5 percent of that total. Foot traffic to physical stores dipped 1 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, compared to 2017, CNN reports, and was ultimately down 6.6 percent during the four-day weekend overall compared to a year ago.

Many U.S. shoppers spent their first workday following the Thanksgiving Holiday continuing to hunt for cyber-deals, racking up a record $7.9 billion in online sales, with a 19 percent increase over 2017. Shopping via mobile devices reached $2.8 billion, up 41 percent from last year, with the smartphone accounting for $2.2 billion of this spending — up 56 percent compared to 2017.

According to Adobe, top-selling items included high-priced toys and electronics like laptops (Dell and Apple, specifically), LG TVs, and the Nintendo Switch, which are made in Asia, and are likely to be replenished via airfreight.

UPS expects to deliver around 800 million packages this holiday season — a 3.5 percent increase over last year— according to Seeking Alpha. To meet this demand, UPS added 22 retrofitted automated sorting facilities, as well as the capacity to handle 350,000 packages per hour in the U.S., compared with last year, when it added extra hourly capacity for about 50,000 packages. About 70 percent of all packages will pass through automated facilities this year, up from 50 percent last year. The company is also hiring about 100,000 seasonal workers, for both the air- and ground-shipping sides of its business.

FedEx, meanwhile, said it expects to double its average daily volume of 14 million deliveries on multiple Mondays between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, as it forecasts another huge increase in packages. FedEx has worked more closely with retailers to forecast demand and is enforcing limits on how much retailers can put into its network, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company also added more facilities that just handle large packages, which are making up an increasing portion of shipments, in addition to hiring up to 50,000 seasonal workers.

Looking ahead, online retail sales in the U.S. are expected to spend more than $720 billion for the combined November-December periods, with TechCrunch analysts predicting Amazon may capture as much as 50 percent of this total.


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