: States with stricter Thanksgiving coronavirus gathering curbs saw higher online retail sales: Adobe

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Target is looking forward to Cyber Week as many shoppers plan to buy their gifts online this year due to COVID-19


States that had tighter restrictions on Thanksgiving Day gatherings saw higher online sales than those with more lax rules, according to the latest data from Adobe Inc. ADBE, +1.59%

“At a state level, online sales growth was 47% higher in states where gatherings of people from outside immediate households are prohibited compared to states with fewer COVID restrictions,” the Adobe report said.

As of about 9 p.m. ET, Adobe expected Thanksgiving Day sales to total about $6 billion, an all-time high, with spending levels expected to increase as the evening wore on. About half of all transactions were on mobile devices.

For Shopify Inc. SHOP, +4.97% merchants, the amount of mobile shopping was even higher, with 71% of sales on mobile devices and 29% on desktops.

Watch: How to pick winners in the retail sector amid the pandemic

For Black Friday, Adobe expects sales to reach $10.3 billion, up 39.2% year-over-year, with appliances and TVs seeing the deepest discounts, reduced 17.6% and 16.7% respectively.

With retailers coaxing consumers into getting their shopping done early with promotions beginning last month, one-fifth of shoppers expect to have their holiday shopping completed by Black Friday.

It’s a good thing too: Adobe expects shipping costs to increase by an average of 14.6% on Dec. 11. With store capacity limited and many shoppers still too anxious to go to stores, curbside pickup has been a popular option, with 116% growth this week.

“Retail’s focus on Black November seems to be paying off, but it remains to be seen if early sales will diminish retail’s performance over Black Friday weekend,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief retail industry adviser. 

“While we are heading into retail’s big holiday weekend with some nice momentum, there are still several weeks ahead with many industries still looking to make up for the year’s losses. This may still prove to be a very challenging holiday season at retail, which means the focus could shift from sales volume to profit margin for those industries and retailers that are lagging.” 

Read: Black Friday 2020 will be a smaller event as retailers spread promotions across the holiday season

So far, board games have been popular items, with five times the number of sales in October. The Netflix Inc. NFLX, +0.43% show “The Queen’s Gambit” has driven a 300% sales increase of chessboards and chess-related items compared with the previous month.

For the months of November and December, Adobe is forecasting $189.1 billion spent online, up about a third from 2019, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday expected to become the two largest online sales days in history.

The National Retail Federation announced its holiday forecast earlier this week, expecting as much as 5.2% growth this year, reaching between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion.

Target Corp. TGT, +1.10% is already looking ahead to Cyber Week, with deals starting on Sunday for things like a Calphalon Air Fryer Toaster Oven NWL, -0.47% and Apple Watches AAPL, +0.74%.

Target is also introducing “flash sales” this year, promotions available for an abbreviated time.

“We know many people are doing more of their holiday shopping online this year, so our biggest Cyber Week yet includes more deals and more ways to save than ever before,” said Rick Gomez, Target’s chief marketing, digital and strategy officer, in a statement.

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Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN, +2.14% Prime Day marked the beginning of this year’s COVID-19-impacted holiday season, but Salesforce says digital sales for Thanksgiving and Cyber Week will still reach new levels.

“The digital momentum doesn’t show any signs of slowing down with Salesforce projecting significant growth on Thanksgiving as consumers turn to their mobile devices for inspiration and purchases from the comfort and safety of the couch,” said Rob Garf, vice president of strategy and insights at Salesforce.

“Consumers have been conditioned to wait for the biggest holiday deals to drop over Cyber Week. Retailers didn’t disappoint with creative promos and deals that are driving unprecedented digital sales.”