1. More Shoppers Than Expected
Substantially more people shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend than was expected in surveys a few weeks ago. The National Retail Federation says that more than 151 million people shopped this weekend, either in a physical store or online -- a big jump from the 136 million who said they planned to shop in a survey a few weeks ago.
2. Black Friday Is Not That Important Anymore
Black Friday sales were off more than $1 billion – from $11.6 billion a year ago to $10.4 billion, according to retailing research firm ShopperTrak. U.S. shoppers no longer blow the bulk of their holiday budgets on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. It’s a major shift that has made it difficult for stores to track and learn from shoppers' spending habits during the traditional start to the busy holiday shopping season.
3. E-Commerce Jumps
ComScore reports that e-commerce sales jumped 9% on Thanksgiving Day to reach $1.1. billion and 10% on Black Friday to $1.7 billion
4....and Off-line Tanks
Spending in stores fell 10 percent from last year on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Thanksgiving sales in stores fell from slightly more than $2 billion last year to $1.8 billion. Black Friday sales were off more than $1 billion – from $11.6 billion a year ago to $10.4 billion, according to research firm Shopper Trak. The NRF says 102 million people shopped in stores over the weekend, while 103 million shopped online.
5. Spending Per Person Decreases
It also estimated that spending per person was US $299.60. That's below the nearly US $381 figure last year, but the group also said this year's spending number is not comparable to those in previous years (NRF Data).
Thanksgiving weekend is now more like the second quarter, going into halftime” of a football game because retailers are offering special prices several weeks earlier.
6. Beware of Incomplete Picture
The data, without year-over-year comparisons, paints an incomplete picture of the behavior and spending of U.S. shoppers over the weekend. But overall, the NRF sticks by its pre-Black Friday prediction that sales in November and December will rise 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion. That's below last year's 4.1 percent growth. Thanksgiving weekend is now more like the second quarter, going into halftime” of a football game because retailers are offering special prices several weeks earlier, said Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation. That’s why the industry’s largest trade group forecasts November and December together, and is sticking with an earlier projection of a 3.7 percent sales increase from a year ago to $630.5 billion, he said. That compares with a 4.1 percent increase during holiday 2014.