United States online Black Friday sales hit record $7.4 billion

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Black Friday also busted previous sales records but fell slightly shy of analysts' predictions.

So far, the most popular items being snagged in virtual stores includes: NERF, Frozen 2, Paw Patrol toys, as well as video games like "Madden 20, ' 'FIFA 20" and Nintendo Switch. Best selling video games included Federation Internationale de Football Association 20, Madden 20, and Nintendo Switch.

Electronics, including AirPods, Apple laptops and Samsung TVs, are also must have items. Another important trend is that the growth of retail e-commerce, clocked at 14.1 percent, is growing faster than retail sales, which are at 4.0 percent overall.

Shoppers increasingly favor buying online from the start of the holiday season, rather than waiting for Cyber Monday as they may have a few years ago.

"Small Business Saturday posted a record breaking $3.6 billion dollars that was fueled by strong gains from both large and small retailers alike", said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe.

"Cyber Monday will set a new record as the largest-and fastest-growing online shopping day of the year with $9.4 billion in sales, an 18.9 percent increase year over year (YoY)", said the Adobe communications team in an online post. Salesforce uses Commerce Cloud data and insights covering more than half a billion global shoppers across more than 30 countries.

Cash registers have been getting a pounding this Black Friday sales weekend, giving a sluggish retail sector a much needed boost.

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Online and in-store shopping aren't always completely separate, though.

Bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Macy's on "Black Friday" on November 25, 2011, in New York City.

Paymark, which services the majority of in-store electronic card terminals, plans release its Black Friday spending figures later today, but spokesman Paul Brislen said it looked like the sales were up both on past year and the previous month. Adobe projects $9.4 billion in online sales on Monday during Cyber Monday promotions.

Retail NZ spokesman Greg Harford said there appeared to be "lots of good sales around". Or, bigger online retailers can simply afford to give bigger markdowns.

Buying online and picking up in store transactions increased 43.2 per cent, signaling that retailers are perfecting their offline and online services.

The story is not all rosy for big retailers, however.

Last year Paymark data showed Kiwis spent $219 million on Black Friday alone, significantly - almost a third - more than they spent the previous week.

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