ecommerce

Sales were anything but sleepy for Shopify during the early morning hours of Black Friday. Between midnight and 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, the retail platform saw a flurry of transactions across its retailers, with more than $20 million per hour flooding in at its peak.

The Ottawa, Canada-based company, which serves 600,000 small-to-medium-sized businesses and direct-to-consumer merchants and more than one million active users, reported an average shopping cart order of $86.40 during this early period.

Shopify’s platform includes brands such as Nestlé, Kylie Cosmetics, Allbirds, MVMT and others that operate in 175 countries. But if its results reflect larger retail trends, the early center of gravity for small businesses and DTC operations appears to reside in the West Coast of the U.S.

The platform’s kickoff to the holiday shopping season showed the U.S. as the top purchasing country, followed by Australia, Canada and the U.K. The top American states were, in order: California, Texas and New York, with Los Angeles, San Diego, New York and Chicago dominating the top cities list.

It’s worth noting these numbers will likely shift as time goes on. The early-morning hours on Eastern time translate to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving day through 3 a.m. on Friday, capturing more West Coast shoppers while they’re still awake.

That doesn’t mean Shopify sales were strictly an American affair. Close to one-fifth of total order volume during those first six hours are headed for international shipping, at 18.78 percent.

The early rush saw consumers racing to stuff carts with fashion purchases: The top-selling product categories were shirts and tops, pants and coats and jackets.

Shopify impressed Wall Street last quarter, with the total value of items sold up 55 percent. The company’s recent efforts — which include its first physical store, augmented reality initiative, payments expansion, Shopify Plus offering for larger companies and more investment in e-commerce — appear to be paying off.

In October, Shopify chief financial officer Amy Shapero weighed in on how those efforts would play into this peak selling period: “We relentlessly shipped new products and features to prepare our merchants for their biggest selling season of the year,” she said in a statement. “We’re well positioned to close 2018 and enter 2019 with excellent momentum.”

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