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Black Friday Sales Surge, Despite Economic Uncertainties -- Here Are The Stocks That Stand To Benefit The Most

Shanthi Rexaline
November 25, 2023

Consumers continue to be resilient despite abounding economic uncertainty, as underlined by online Black Friday sales data released by Adobe Analytics.

Buoyant Consumers: A record $9.8 billion was spent online on Black Friday, marking a 7.5% year-over-year increase, Adobe Analytics’ report showed. The major driver of growth was electronics, up 152% from the average daily sales in September. Among electronics, smartwatch, TVs and audio-equipment sales jumped 577%, 484% and 376%, respectively.

The data was compiled based on an analysis of online commerce transactions covering over 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs and 19 product categories.

Flexible Payment Flavor Of Season: As inflation continues to eats into real incomes, consumers apparently tapped into borrowing capital to splurge on items. The report showed that they increasingly relied on the flexible payment method, “Buy Now, Pay Later,” to stretch their holiday budgets.

BNPL orders rose by 72% in the Nov. 18-24 week compared to the Nov.11-17 week, and BNPL revenue climbed $79 million or 47% over the same period.

This could have possibly benefited companies including Affirm Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFRM), Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Block, Inc. (NYSE:SQ) and PayPal, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL), which offer such service.

Hot Sellers: Among the bestsellers on Black Friday were toys including KidKraft playsets, Mattel, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MAT) Barbie Fashionista dolls, and Mini Brands Toys. Incidentally, Mattel has seen a strong lift from the box office success of the “Barbie” movie released in late-July. The film earned about $1.4 billion at the box office, as it turned out to be Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:WBD) highest-grossing film ever.

Gaming also remained a popular category, with strong demand for Sony Group Corporation’s (NYSE:SONY) PlayStation5, Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox Series X, Nintendo Co., Ltd.’s (OTC:NTDOY) Switch gaming consoles, along with games including “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III,” “Spiderman 2” and “Super Mario Bros. Wonder.”

Other top sellers included Bluetooth headphones, smartphones, skin care products, cookware sets and coffee makers.

See Also: Best Retail Stocks

Strength To Continue: Consumers will likely spend $10 billion over the weekend, Adobe said. The firm expects $4.8 billion worth of online sales on Saturday and $5.2 billion on Sunday.

Cyber Monday sales is expected at a record $12 billion, up 5.4% year-over-year.

The Cyber Week, which is the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, will likely generate sales of $37.2 billion. This would mark a 5.4% year-over-year increase and account for 16.8% of the full holiday sales.

Shopping Trends: Adobe said deep discounts are still on and flagged the days consumers can hope for best bargains for several items. These include:

  • Toys and apparel on Sunday, with expected discounts of 35% and 25% , respectively.
  • Electronics and furniture on Cyber Monday, when consumers can expect discounts of 30% and 19%, respectively
  • Appliances will likely be available at a discount of 20% on Nov. 30.
  • Sporting goods could be purchased at a 24% discount on Dec. 4.

The report noted that about $5.3 billion or 54% of all online sales on Black Friday were made through smartphones, up 10.4% year-over-year. Adobe said online sales through smartphones will likely overtake desktop for the first time this holiday season.

Inflationary prices may not have lifted online sales, Adobe said. “Strong consumer spending online continues to be driven by net-new demand and not higher prices,” it said. Adobe also clarified that the figures are not adjusted for inflation, but if online deflation were factored in, growth in consumer spend would be even stronger.   

Why It’s Important: The data should bode well for retail companies. When retailers reported their third quarter results over the past few weeks, most sounded caution regarding the outlook for the holiday quarter. Retail giant Walmart, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) said U.S. consumers were becoming increasingly cautious as the holiday season approached.

Apple, which derives much of its revenues from its hardware, including the iPhone, also provided a lukewarm guidance for the December quarter. It guided to flattish year-over-year sales growth for the quarter as opposed to analysts’ expectations for modest growth.

The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSE:XRT) ended Friday’s session up 0.73% at $63.89, according to Benzinga Pro data.

Read Next: Touchdown For Shopping: Amazon’s Innovative Black Friday Football Game Integrates Commerce And Content

Photo: Shutterstock

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