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Cyber Monday sales hit record $12.4 billion even as savings dwindle

Contract workers delivered packages on Cyber Monday in New York. Spending increased 9.6 percent from a year ago, making it the biggest online shopping day ever, according to Adobe Inc., which compiles the data.Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg

US shoppers spent $12.4 billion on Cyber Monday, a record result demonstrating the continued resilience of consumers despite dwindling pandemic-era savings and high interest rates.

Spending increased 9.6 percent from a year ago, making it the biggest online shopping day ever, according to Adobe Inc., which compiles the data. Adobe had earlier adjusted upward its online spending forecast for the day based on stronger-than-expected spending on Black Friday and the popularity of buy-now-pay-later offerings that let shoppers stretch their budgets with credit.

Buy-now-pay-later usage also hit a record high on Cyber Monday, Adobe said, contributing $940 million in online spending, up 42.5 percent over the previous year. The firm also said consumers used such credit facilities for increasingly large purchases.

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“The 2023 holiday shopping season began with a lot of uncertainty, as consumers shifted their spending to services, while dealing with rising costs across different facets of their lives,” said Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. “The record online spending across Cyber Week however, shows the impact that discounts can have on consumer demand.”

Cyber Week — the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — generated $38 billion overall, up 7.8 percent from last year. Black Friday topped projections at $9.8 billion, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier. Thanksgiving spending of $5.6 billion was up 5.5 percent, Adobe said. So far this season, from Nov. 1 to Nov. 27, consumers have spent $109.3 billion online, up 7.3 percent from 2022.

Top sellers included Hot Wheels, the Xbox Series X gaming console, televisions, and small kitchen appliances, according to Adobe, which tracks 1 trillion visits to retail websites and monitors sales of more than 100 million products.

Big sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been gradually losing their cachet as shoppers spread their spending over longer periods. Still, with inflation-stung consumers watching their budgets, retailers increasingly count on these events to see what products shoppers are clicking on — then targeting them with bigger discounts as the clock counts down to Christmas.

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