Black Friday means plenty of green for Shopify merchants as customer spending hits record $2.9B

Shopify sign

Black Friday was once again an e-commerce bonanza for Shopify and the merchants who rely on its platform to sell their products.

The Ottawa-based firm, which makes tools that help online retailers build and maintain their virtual storefronts as well as market goods and process payments, says consumers shelled out nearly $3 billion to businesses that use its software on what’s become one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Shopify announced Monday that the more than 1.7 million merchants on the platform sold nearly $2.9 billion worth of merchandise last Friday, shattering last year’s record total of $2.4 billion and more than doubling 2019’s tally. 

The average cart price of US$101.20 was up nearly 12 per cent from 2020. At the peak of the spending frenzy on Friday afternoon, Shopify merchants were bringing in $3.1 million per minute.

The company said more than 70 per cent of all Black Friday purchases on its platform were made on mobile devices, up from 67 per cent last year. 

The top merchandise categories were apparel and accessories, followed by health and beauty and home and garden. 

In a statement, Shopify president Harley Finkelstein said the record-smashing sales figures show that independent retailers, which make up the bulk of its customers, are “having a massive impact on global commerce,” adding that consumers’ appetite for buying from independents is at an “all-time high.”

That’s good news for the Ottawa firm, which charges fees to its merchants that vary based on the volume of online spending. The company’s revenues and stock price have soared during the pandemic as consumers have shifted more of their spending to e-commerce sites.

While the online shopping surge has levelled off in recent months as COVID restrictions eased, malls reopened and people returned to brick-and-mortar stores, Shopify still posted third-quarter revenues of US$1.12 billion, up from $767 million the previous year. The company has also signed a string of partnerships with companies such as audio streaming giant Spotify. 

Buyers continued to flock to Shopify merchants on Cyber Monday, ringing up sales of more than $1.4 million per minute, according to Shopify’s real-time tracker. Hot-ticket items included household supplies (up 1,470 per cent from last year), wallpaper (up 434 per cent), puzzles (up 406 per cent), pens and pencils (up 341 per cent) and seasonings and spices (up 223 per cent).