American families stay at home and spend like crazy

Online spending by bargain hunters in the US has climbed to more than $1 billion as Americans stay home and binge spend.

The Adobe Digital Index saw internet sales surging almost 14 percent from a year ago as Americans could not be bothered queuing for the brick-and-mortar shopping sales.

At the start of the first holiday shopping season since the election of Donald Trump as president on November 8, US consumers spent like there was no tomorrow, which is probably a safe bet. More than $1.15 billion online between midnight and 5 pm ET on Thursday, splashed the cash,  according to Adobe.

Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, has started the holiday shopping season in the United States with retailers offering steep discounts and turning a profit. But its popularity has been on the wane given the emergence of online shopping and cheap deals throughout the year.

US stores are now opening on Thanksgiving to try and boost in-store sales, while retailers have been offering online deals weeks in advance to cope with lower demand and stiff pricing competition.

The holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts, sometimes as much as 85 percent.

The National Retail Federation, which has been optimistic with projections in the past, expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion.

“Online discounts are earlier and a lot bigger than last year,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst at Adobe Digital Index.