Black Friday sales have already passed $3.5 billion — and it reveals a dark truth about the future of the holiday

  • Black Friday shoppers have spent more than $3.5 billion online. 
  • The deals have never been steeper.
  • The demand for discounts and rise of online shopping could be a problem for some retailers if they fail to adjust their strategies. 

Black Friday sales are surging, with shoppers spending more than $3.5 billion online as of Friday morning. 

Shoppers spent a total $2.9 billion online on Thanksgiving — a 18% increase over last year, according to Adobe Analytics. By 10 a.m. ET on Friday, shoppers had spent an additional $640 million online. 

Black Friday madness 2017:

10 PHOTOS
Black Friday madness 2017
See Gallery
Black Friday madness 2017
People gather at the Broadway entrance of Macy's Herald Square store ahead of early opening for the Black Friday sales in Manhattan, New York, U.S. November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Shoppers reach out for television sets as they compete to purchase retail items on Black Friday at a store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
Shoppers reach out for television sets as they compete to purchase retail items on Black Friday at a store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
People shop in Macy's Herald Square during early opening for the Black Friday sales in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A woman looks at a pair of boots in Macy's Herald Square during early opening for the Black Friday sales in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
People look at a rack of handbags in Macy's Herald Square during early opening for the Black Friday sales in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 24: Street pictures of Black Friday on November 24, 2017 in London, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 24: People line up for a Black Friday giveaway outside the Mall of America on November 24, 2017 in Bloomington, United States. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 24: People line up for a Black Friday giveaway outside the Mall of America on November 24, 2017 in Bloomington, United States. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Thanksgiving is shaping up to be a record-breaking shopping day," said Mickey Mericle, the vice president of marketing and customer insights for Adobe.

However, the surging sales hide two ominous realities. 

First, retailers have had to drop prices lower than ever to get shoppers to spend money.

Discounts are hitting record highs this year, according to Edited, a retail technology company. Nearly half of the US apparel market was discounted on Thanksgiving, with an average promotion of 47% off an item's full price.

Retailers have additionally started offering more deals all year round, making Black Friday less of a special event. 

"The whole idea of Black Friday and Cyber Monday ... is becoming less relevant as the consumer is generally accustomed to great deals, or at least getting a deal," Josh Elman, a consumer and retail analyst with Nasdaq Advisory Services, told Business Insider.

Second, a record-breaking day of sales on Thanksgiving Day reveals the increasing irrelevance of Black Friday as a single day of sales. According to Salesforce, Thanksgiving is shaping up to be the third-biggest shopping day of the year, after Cyber Monday and Black Friday. 

Additionally, an increasing proportion of these sales are happening online. With people shopping on their smartphones instead of actually shopping in stores, traditional Black Friday — with crowds of people lining up to get into stores the day after Thanksgiving — is dead. 

Shoppers are expected to spend $107.4 billion online this holiday season, which would represent an increase of nearly 14% over last year, according to Adobe.

NOW WATCH: Here's what candy corn is actually made of — it may surprise you

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Photos of shockingly empty stores prove that Black Friday as we know it is dead

Read Full Story

Can't get enough personal finance tips?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from consumer news to money tricks delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.