Online transactions processed by the top 50 retail sites during peak week this year was strong. According to Hitwise, the top 50 sites processed 75.1 million transactions via desktop and mobile browsers during the seven days ending November 26th 2018, up from 65.5 million for the comparable period in 2017, an increase of 15%.
Of this year’s transactions, 44.5 million were completed on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is up from 40.0 million in 2017. Cyber Monday was again the top buying day of the week with 16 million transactions (up from 14.6 million in 2017), followed by Black Friday with 14.8 million transactions (up from 13.0 million in 2017), and Thanksgiving with 13.7 million transactions (up from 12.5 million in 2017). Interestingly, the three peak shopping days—while posting increases strong increases—saw their share of peak week transactions decline slightly to 59 percent from 61 percent year-over-year, pointing to a growing importance of the non-peak days of peak week. In fact, non-peak days posted transaction increases of 20 percent, on average, versus 11 percent growth observed for the three peak days. The day before Thanksgiving is becoming especially important. Hitwise saw daily transactions reach 7.6 million this year, up 40 percent from the day before Thanksgiving in 2017.
When it came to overall online visits, the Hitwise Retail 500 registered 2.3 billion visits during peak week, up a modest 2.4 percent year-over-year. Interestingly, traffic to these sites the week prior was up 3.7 percent year-over-year providing evidence that Americans were lured online earlier than usual by week-long Black Friday sales.
Amazon, of course, still dominated the week, accounting for 26 percent of visits to the Hitwise Retail 500 and 59 percent of all transactions processed by the top 50 retailers. Though it’s important to note that Amazon’s share of both visits and transactions are at their lowest point of the year during peak week, driven by the intense competition from other retailers. By comparison, between January and October, Amazon accounts for 31 percent of visits and 79 percent of transactions.
Year-over-year, Hitwise saw a greater concentration of sales being captured by the top retailers. Across the top three days of peak week, the share of transactions captured by the top 10 retailers increased by about three percent. Among those top retailers, some performed better than others. Amazon, for instance, saw transactions increase between 11 and 18 percent over the three peak shopping days and even managed to capture a slightly greater share of transactions this year versus last. Kohl’s, Target and Costco, however, posted among the strongest growth year-over-year in terms of transactions. Kohl’s saw transactions increase 51 percent over the three peak shopping days and saw share of transactions increase 35 percent. Target, meanwhile saw transactions increase 48 percent and share increase 33 percent. Costco, which ranked lower across all three days but still in the top 10, saw transactions increase 61 percent and share rise 45 percent.
With Amazon accounting for the majority of online transactions during peak week, we wanted to share a list of the best sellers on Amazon.com. Black Friday best-sellers are below, and Cyber Monday best sellers will be added as they become available.
Amazon’s own products dominated the best sellers with the Amazon Echo line surpassing 312,000 sales total on Black Friday and Fire Tablets and Fire TV products accounted for another 258,000 purchases. All of those electronics lead to a lot of add-on warranties and protection plans. SquareTrade, for instance, raked up 158,000 sales on Black Friday alone and ASURION sold 41,000 warranties or protection plans.
The top selling non-Amazon product on Black Friday was once again the Instant Pot. Americans bought nearly 165,000 Instant Pots that day. 23andMe’s DNA kit was also a big seller this year as well with nearly 58,000 kits sold on Black Friday.
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