Black Friday: Retailers Say Holiday Sales Strong Despite Inflation, Shoppers Buying Toys, Electronics and Apparel

Man and her dog is relaxing at home and shopping electronics online during Black Friday sale.
ArtistGNDphotography / Getty Images

Concern that Black Friday could be at risk due to inflation is diminishing — at least somewhat — as consumers storm stores in pursuit of great deals.

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As of early Friday, data shows that the shopping holiday is in full swing. According to data from Adobe Analytics, as reported by Bloomberg, Americans spent a record $5.29 billion on Thanksgiving Day. They bought primarily through their phones, with mobile shopping accounting for 55% of sales. This too, set a record. 

Consumers were wide awake on Thursday night, with data from Shopify revealing that the peak for shopping on Black Friday was at midnight ET. The firm said nearly three-quarters of purchases were made on mobile devices, with the average total spent weighing in at $109.33, per Barron’s. 

Retailers are spotlighting a wide array of categories in their pre-holiday sales. Some areas have been anticipated to tout better deals than others. GOBankingRates previously detailed great deals on tablets, TVs, smartphones, laptops, and fall clothing.  

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Shoppers Stocking Up on Health, Beauty, Apparel, Toys, and Electronics

But shoppers are also exploring other departments — they’re digging into deals on accessories, health, and beauty, according to Shopify’s early data. 

They’re also buying tons of toys. According to Adobe Analytics, the best-selling toys this Black Friday weekend so far include Squishmallows, Roblox, Paw Patrol, Hot Wheels, Cocomelon, and L.O.L Surprise dolls.

Gaming is another sector seeing soaring sales, with top-selling consoles including the Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 5. Top-selling games include God of War Ragnarök, FIFA 23, Madden 23, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. 

Adobe noted that other big sellers include Apple Airpods, Instapots, smart televisions, digital cameras, and gift cards. Outdoor grills are also showing strong demand (up 131%), as are speakers (up 122%), and cameras (up 111%).

Perhaps the most surprising items flying off store shelves are strollers. Online sales of strollers are up 133% (compared to average daily sales in October 2022), according to Adobe Analytics.

Inflation Still Nagging at Consumer Budgets as Retail Recovers

Though consumers are stocking their carts and clicking to buy this Black Friday weekend, they’re opting for payment plans in greater numbers. On Thanksgiving Day, BNPL (buy now, pay later) revenue online was up 1.3%, and orders were up 0.7%, according to Adobe, which anticipates that BNPL usage will soar through Cyber Monday.

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Take Our Poll: How Has Inflation Impacted Your Holiday Shopping Plans?
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As quoted by Barron’s, investment analyst Edward Yruma suggested that retail traffic still hasn’t returned to levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. “The historic raucous atmosphere of Black Friday may be in the past,” Yruma said, suggesting that this may also partially be due to retailers running sales for the entire month, rather than merely on Black Friday proper.

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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