Ritu Khanna, Shopify Managing Director for North America, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the early indicators from Black Friday sales.
ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, it is Cyber Monday. You might have spent your weekend shopping in the traditional Black Friday Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza. Let's talk about what's going on in real time as people are spending real money. Ritu Khanna is Shopify managing director for North America. It's good to have you here. First, congratulations. I think it's a congratulations because during Black Friday, I was reading that the peak per minute sales at Shopify globally, 3.1 million every minute. I'm impressed by that number. Were you folk impressed by it?
RITU KHANNA: We certainly were. We had 1.7 million merchants on the platform who generated about $2.9 billion in sales on Black Friday. And that is a whopping 21% increase from 2020. So we're excited.
ADAM SHAPIRO: What are we seeing in real-time right now on the platform with Cyber Monday?
RITU KHANNA: We're still waiting for some of the data to come in. And we'll be reporting on that really soon. But what we're seeing, generally speaking, around trends is a return to in-person shopping. Our data tells us that a lot of merchants now are having a lot of merchants or consumers come into the stores as opposed to simply just online shopping. What we're also seeing is Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a season, not just a weekend. A quarter of US shoppers said that they were looking for deals early and many of our merchants like Our Place, Gymshark, Good American, all tapped into that customer need by starting their sales early.
ADAM SHAPIRO: There are two issues you just brought up that I want to hit with you-- the return of in-store shopping, but also how you're able to-- when I go into a store with my phone, I don't mind being tracked. Do you folk or do-- or whoever is gathering information understand, oh, that person is in a store. And by the way, that person then just searched that product in the store and then just bought it on the platform. Is that how all of this is happening?
RITU KHANNA: Well, we have different products available to our merchants, whether it's online, whether it's social commerce, whether it's a retail point of sale system. So we're able to see where our purchase was made, whether it's in any of our products that we offer.
ADAM SHAPIRO: And so why are people going back to stores, especially in an age where you don't have to?
RITU KHANNA: I think it's that people have probably missed a lot of the in-person experience. We're certainly seeing a trend that will remain, I think, forever in the future post-COVID, which is online shopping, which is still the predominant way that we're seeing people are purchasing goods. And with stores opening, people getting vaccinated, there is a desire to go and see things in person. I think the other part of getting into stores is also people are looking for local goods. So we can make it very easy for someone to purchase something online, but they are going into store to pick up just to avoid any shipping delays or looking at in-person ways to get their goods faster.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Let's talk about what we've already seen were the big Black Friday and I guess it's also Cyber Monday items. And don't worry, Pras-- that's our senior producer. He's not getting a pair of classic sheer tights for the holidays from me. But they're a big seller. What's driving that? Is that a gift, or is that more I can get-- something that people wear, you know, at a discount?
RITU KHANNA: We also saw the Always pan by Our Place is one of our big sellers. And I think it's a combination of what is interesting people and also really great merchants who are able to leverage multiple platforms, including social, advertising their items.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Well, I'm also-- I'm looking at what's popular here, the Aftershocks. It looks like an earpiece that it's just very Star Trek meets Star Wars kind of device. I guess there's no rhyme or reason because we went from a ladies' undergarment to something high tech. And the other thing that's selling big, I would have called it a Snuggie from the turn of the century. People used to make fun of those. And yet these hooded blankets where you can hide the fact that you gained 20 pounds over COVID, that's a big item.
RITU KHANNA: Exactly. I mean, who doesn't want to lie on their couch with a backwards blanket?
ADAM SHAPIRO: Yeah. All right, so as we go forward, how are we going to-- when we're at the end of the holiday shopping season, what do you think-- you can't compare to 2020 because 2020 such an anomaly. But say to 2019, where do you think we're going to be?
RITU KHANNA: Well, in terms of what we are seeing right now, I think year over year growth has indicated globally that we are seeing a 21% increase for Black Friday. And like I said earlier, I think that this shopping season has now extended. It's not about a weekend. And so what we'll see is that I think a fair even distribution of how we're seeing people shopping.
ADAM SHAPIRO: We wish you and the team at Shopify all the best because the deals are still a-blazing. And I would imagine. I've got my eye on a sport blazer which I bet is going to come down in price, so I'm not biting the bullet today. Ritu Khanna, Shopify's managing director for North America, all the best.