Small Business Saturday on track to reach $3 billion in online sales for the first time

Small Business Saturday was on track to set a new record of $3 billion in online sales as of 10 am Eastern Time, according to Adobe Analytics.

The day, which American Express Co.

AXP, -0.71%

 launched in 2010, saw online spend increase 24.3% year-over-year during the early hours, reaching $400 million.

Small businesses weren’t left out of the Black Friday shopping spree either.

Shopify Inc.

SHOP, +1.66%

  says its small-to-medium sized businesses and direct-to-customer merchants, which totals more than 600,000, tallied $573 million in sales. The company’s merchants were ringing up more than $870,000 in sales per minute during the Black Friday peak.

Overall, online sales on Black Friday totaled $6.22 billion, up 23.6% from last year, according to Adobe. And this was the first Black Friday ever to see $2 billion in sales from smartphones.

“Even consumers who shopped online made trips to retail stores with buy online pick-up in-store (BOPIS) orders up significantly (73%) from Thursday to Friday,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. “Retailers have done their part to build better mobile experiences for consumers and turning nearly 10% more smartphone visitors into buyers this Black Friday versus last.”

Read: Idle hands are Santa’s tools as more holiday shoppers use downtime for mobile buying

Shoppers are also getting more comfortable with making bigger purchases online, with average order value setting a new Black Friday record of $146, up 8.5% from last year.

With so much Thanksgiving weekend shopping happening online, Charlie O’ Shea, Moody’s lead retail analyst, says the usual markers to determine whether business is robust don’t apply.

“The paradigm has shifted so much to online,” he told MarketWatch while touring brick-and-mortar stores on Saturday. “It’s hard to use conventional analytics like cars in the parking lot.”

Black Friday is still important even if more activity is moving online and more shopping is happening in the weeks before Thanksgiving. The season kicks off for some right after Halloween when the holiday decorations come out, O’Shea says.

See: Online retail sales on Thanksgiving day jump 28% from last year

“The thrill of the hunt, which was what Black Friday was traditionally, has been evolving for the past several years as Thanksgiving sales became more prevalent and online exploded,” he said. “However, it’s still a critically important shopping day because it’s the backbone of what has become a five-day shopping weekend.”

Moreover, stores are still critical touch points for reaching consumers, with things like eye-catching store windows giving consumers a reason to get off the couch to do their shopping.

“This is the opportunity for retailers to showcase their physical assets,” said O’Shea, describing the shift in the holiday brick-and-mortar experience. “It’s not being replaced, it’s being advanced and augmented.”

The SPDR SP Retail ETF

XRT, +0.29%

  has slipped 0.7% for the year to date but the Amplify Online Retail ETF

IBUY, +0.88%

  is up 4.1% for the period. The SP 500 index

SPX, -0.66%

  is down 1.5% for 2018 so far, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.73%

  has gained 1.8%.

Tonya Garcia is a MarketWatch reporter covering retail and consumer-oriented companies. You can follow her on Twitter @tgarcianyc. She is based in New York.

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