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Black Friday was strong start to holiday sales, industry group says

30 November 2017

Cyber Monday and Black Friday kicked off what is estimated to be a big holiday season, according to Adobe Analytics.

While the shift away from stores has been happening for years, the evolution continues to accelerate.

A retail trade group estimates that people who shopped both online and in stores from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday spent more than those who picked one or the other.

Brick-and-mortar retailers were aided over the five days by good weather across much of the country and strength in the economy, including low unemployment and a rising stock market.

And that's OK, said Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation. "It bodes well for the rest of the year".

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Older millennials - a group pegged at age 25 to 34 - was especially profligate over the weekend. "At the end of the day, a sale is a sale is a sale, whether it happens in-store or online", he said. 51 million people shopped in store, 58 million shopped online, and 65 million shopped both in-store and online. As a result, Federation officials said, the numbers can't be compared to previous surveys. It was also unable to provide the amount of total sales generated, saying that it would be hard to extrapolate a figure from its sampling of consumers. A growing percentage of those sales were made on smartphones, with over $2 billion in online sales made with smartphones on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe.

An uptick in shopper traffic was seen across all the retailers in Skyhook's analysis around 4 pm on Thanksgiving Day, which was right before most stores opened. After a wave of store closures and adjustments to improve online selling platforms, brick-and-mortar retailers' prospects should be improved. "But there is no question that physical shopping is losing to online shopping".

Black Friday itself saw an eight per cent uptick in sales, with Cyber Monday expected to have slightly outdone it by a margin of around £7 million.

Like Black Friday, though, many retailers offered online deals that last throughout November instead of limiting them to a single day, potentially reducing Cyber Monday's impact.

"The past Cyber Monday behavior of shopping on your work computer during the day is nearly completely reversed", said Taylor Schreiner, Director of Adobe Digital Insights in a statement.

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Televisions were the most discounted items, with markdowns averaging about 20 per cent. Retail traffic peaked around 5 pm and 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day, and noon or later on Black Friday.

"Black Friday was huge and every year gets bigger and better", said Jamie Scott, the owner of "Ella and Scott".

In its report, Adobe reported that the holiday season to date (Nov 1 - Nov 27) has brought in $50 billion in online shopping revenue, 16.8% growth year over year. But surprise, surprise, we're not talking about Black Friday 2017.

Top shopping destinations included department stores (43 percent), online retailers (42 percent), electronic stores (32 percent), clothing and accessories stores (31 percent) and discount stores (also 31 percent).

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Black Friday was strong start to holiday sales, industry group says