Black Friday was forecast to break records this year, and so far it it has -- both in-store and online.
Cyber sales alone hit $6.22 billion by the end of Friday, according to Adobe Analytics data. That's nearly a quarter more sales than last year when shoppers put down just over $5 billion on web-based buys, found Adobe.
While total sales are not in yet in part because some retailers are extending their Black Fridays through the weekend, Mastercard (MC) says the shopping holiday has been "robust" and forecast some $23 billion in total spending.
Up to 116 million people were predicted to be out shopping yesterday, according to the National Retail Federation. If the number holds, it will also break last year's shopping record.
But it's not just how much buyers spend this year that's topping last year's shopping holiday. It's how they're spending their cash.
Black Friday was also a massive day for shopping by smartphone. Some $2 billion in spending came from phones alone, according to Adobe Analytics. More customers also ordered online and picked up in stores.
The trend of shopping across the real and virtual world is one many retailers had prepared for, as mega merchants like Target (TGT) and Walmart (WMT) coordinated their apps, technology, websites and brick-and-mortar selling strategies. Target, for example, let staff scan products and accept credit cards from any location in stores and Walmart used a similar check-out system, as well as letting shoppers find in-store buys with a special Black Friday map on the Walmart app for smartphones. Many retailers also offered free shipping or in-store pickup of products.
Such strategies, say experts, may also reduce crowds in stores, which may be why stories on in-store mayhem appeared less than in prior years. The main report of violence occurred Thursday night in an Alabama mall in which two people -- including one child -- were reportedly injured in a shooting. Police killed one suspect who later turned out not to be the gunman, who is believed to be still at large, according to reports.
Alabama was ranked as one of the Top 5 most dangerous places during Black Friday, according to a survey by Reviews.org.
(Editor's Pick. Originally published Nov. 24.)