2023 Cyber Five Recap: Record-Breaking Sales, Mobile Dominance, and AI-Enabled Shopping

Written by:

Mary Beth Wilson

Nov 30, 2023

5 min Read

The 2023 Cyber Five, which runs from Thanksgiving (11/24) through Cyber Monday (11/27), shattered expectations and surpassed previous records, signaling the evolving landscape of online shopping. According to Adobe's comprehensive report, total sales over the Cyber Week surged to an impressive $38 billion, representing a “better than predicted” 7.8% year-over-year increase. Other sites, Amazon and NRF included, reported record-breaking sales and shoppers. Let’s take a look at the key highlights of each day and unravel the trends that defined this extraordinary shopping event.

Black Friday Sets Record

Thanksgiving Day began with a record-breaking start to the Cyber Five, with reported sales reaching $5.6 billion, reflecting a 5.5% year-over-year growth, But Black Friday emerged as a retail powerhouse, with total sales reported by Adobe soaring to an impressive $9.8 billion, reflecting a substantial 7.5% year-over-year increase. 

The allure of enticing discounts proved to be a significant catalyst, propelling digital sales by 8% globally and a notable 9% within the United States. Salesforce's insights revealed that specific sectors experienced remarkable online sales growth in the U.S. on Black Friday, with general footwear and handbags leading the way—seeing a remarkable 22% surge—followed closely by sporting goods at 21%, and health and beauty at 17%. 

Cyber Monday Sales Soar

Cyber Monday proved to be an unparalleled success, with total sales reaching an impressive $12.4 billion, a 9.6% increase year-over-year. The peak hour, occurring from 10:00 to 11:00 pm Eastern, witnessed an extraordinary spending spree, with consumers collectively pouring an astonishing $15.7 million per minute into online purchases. 

Retaining its well-deserved title as the largest online shopping day ever, Cyber Monday showcased a standout winner in the sales race – apparel. Online sales in this category experienced an exceptional surge, skyrocketing by an impressive 189% compared to the average day in October 2023. 

Other categories also contributed to the day's success, with appliances (166%), toys (140%), furniture (129%), electronics (103%), jewelry (99%), and sporting goods (95%) all experiencing substantial growth. Top-selling items ranged from popular toys like Hot Wheels and LEGOs to sought-after gaming consoles like Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.

The day was marked by unprecedented discounts, with electronics leading the way at a peak of 31% off the listed price. This, coupled with significant discounts across various categories, solidified Cyber Monday as a resounding triumph within the broader success of the Cyber Five shopping extravaganza.

Mobile Shopping Dominates

Mobile shopping took center stage during BFCM this year, outpacing desktop transactions. The data revealed that 59% of online sales on Thanksgiving occurred via smartphones, underscoring the increasing preference for mobile convenience as most consumers spent time with their loved ones rather than in lines. This trend persisted throughout Cyber Week, with smartphones contributing to 51.8% of total online sales. 

As mobile shopping continues to be a staple, ensuring your Product Detail Pages (PDPs) provide the same visibility as in-store shopping with 360 views and interactive videos will be more important than ever.

AI-Powered Shopping Delights

A staggering $51 billion in global online sales were influenced by AI. From personalized product recommendations powered by machine learning algorithms to AI-driven chatbots providing real-time customer support, the integration of cutting-edge technology played a pivotal role in optimizing sales and customer engagement.  

Take Google’s new AI-powered shopping tool, Search Generative Experience, which emerged as a game-changer for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers. By understanding individual preferences and analyzing vast datasets, the AI tool generated tailored product recommendations, ensuring that shoppers were presented with products that really resonated with their tastes. Its dynamic capabilities transformed the search process, making it more interactive and efficient, ultimately enhancing the overall BFCM shopping experience for users across the digital landscape.

Average Order Value Grows

Throughout the holiday season, the Average Order Value (AOV) demonstrated modest growth, increasing by 2.7% from November 1 to November 27 compared to the same period last year. For Cyber Weekend specifically, AOV grew by 3.2%, signaling that the surge in spending is driven by a growing number of consumers embracing e-commerce.

Consumers Prefer Flexible Payments

When it comes to consumer payment preferences, $79 million of the total sales were attributed to the 'Buy Now, Pay Later' flexible payment method. This figure marked a substantial 47% increase from the previous year, underscoring the growing popularity of this financial approach among consumers seeking flexibility and affordability during the holiday shopping frenzy.

Final Thoughts

The 2023 Cyber Five has set a new benchmark for online shopping, with impressive sales figures, mobile dominance, and unprecedented discounts. The data reflects a shift in consumer behavior towards mobile platforms and a continued enthusiasm for online shopping. As e-commerce continues to evolve, these trends provide valuable insights for businesses preparing for future holiday seasons, as well as the new avenues of shopping.