"Online spending on Black Friday decreased for the very first time"
These conclusions are based on data from Adobe Analytics, which "analyzes more than 1 trillion visits to retailer websites."
Let's dig a little deeper: Adobe Analytics is currently used by 109k websites, according to BuiltWith. 8.27 percent of these websites are among the world's top 10,000 most popular sites:
Furthermore, if you visit the Adobe Analytics official website, you'll notice a button to "Request a demo" (read: speak with a salesperson), which, combined with the stat above, indicates one thing:
Adobe Analytics is a tool mostly used by large corporations.
With this in mind, a more accurate interpretation of the mainstream news data would be: Online sales fell for the first time on mostly large/enterprisey online stores.
This did not appear to be the case for Shopify or Amazon, both of which have a large percentage of smaller sellers.
Shopify reported that its merchants broke both Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales records, totaling $6.3 billion. This represents a 23 percent increase over the previous year.
Amazon also reported record sales figures, though no specifics were provided.
There is some data about people flocking to Facebook Marketplace for holiday shopping. According to a Facebook spokesperson, there's been a 40% increase in people searching for the term "gifts", for example.
What Facebook Marketplace, Amazon and Shopify have in common: When compared to the sites in Adobe's data, they have a much higher percentage of smaller creators:
There are more than 1.7 million merchants on Shopify's platform
Facebook's marketplace has 1 billion people on it. Everyone who has access to it can be a seller
Based on this data, we can safely assume that on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people preferred to buy from smaller creators rather than big brands.
The whole picture is not so straightforward, however.
According to Adobe, one of the primary reasons for this year's "lower online sales" is people's preference to shop earlier:
So far, from Nov. 1 through Cyber Monday, consumers in the United States have spent $109.8 billion online, which is up 11.9% year over year, Adobe said.
It makes sense: Due to supply shortages, people go and buy an item earlier. So if you have a child and want to get them an Xbox for Black Friday, it's probably a good idea to try and get it earlier.
Unfortunately, there is no information available from Shopify/Amazon on whether this increase occurred on their platforms as well.
First and foremost, be wary of headlines like the ones at the top of this post.
They may lead you to the incorrect conclusion that "Black Friday and Cyber Monday are dead."
Nope. On these dates, people shop more than ever before, and smaller creators have noticed a difference this year more than ever before.