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Black Friday digital sales reached record highs this year

Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. While the day is most commonly associated with 3:00 a.m. doorbusters and packed shopping malls, digital sales have been steadily growing. This year was no exception, as digital sales broke records as more shoppers opted to shop from the comfort of their couch via computers and smartphones.

Adobe Analytics, which measures sales data from the top 100 U.S. web retailers, found that online sales accounted for $7.9 billion during Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. That marked a 17.9 percent increase from last year. In a sign that mobile shopping is becoming more prevalent than ever, analysts noted that purchases made on smartphones were up by 29 percent this year.

The firm says that it expects Cyber Monday to be the largest digital shopping day in U.S. history. The company is estimating that online sales will rise to $6.6 billion.

In the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend, retailers invested heavily into improving their online shopping experience. Websites were revamped and delivery systems were improved in an effort to entice shoppers.

Unsurprisingly, consumer electronics were among the most popular items purchased during the sales day. Among gaming consoles, the PlayStation 4 was a particularly strong seller.

The increase in digital sales did lead some to speculate as to whether or not this meant that brick-and-mortar stores would face a decline, but the results are mixed. Adobe has not reported data regarding in-store sales, but analysts did note that fewer cars in parking lots and fewer people actually made purchases in-store.

However, research firm ShopperTrak said that retail traffic fell by less than 1 percent this year. It appears that digital shopping may be growing, but brick-and-mortar stores still have some life left in them.

“There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail,” ShopperTrak’s Brian Fields said. “The fact that shopper visits remained intact on Black Friday illustrates that physical retail is still highly relevant and when done right, it is profitable.”

Black Friday may have come and gone, but there are still plenty of great deals available if you’re still looking. Beyond that, Cyber Monday is just around the corner, which promises even more savings.

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Eric Brackett
Former Digital Trends Contributor
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