Footwear: A Surprise Black Friday Weekend Bestseller

Doorbuster shoe specials at Shoe Carnival

Doorbuster shoe specials at Shoe Carnival

Port Washington, NY—Retailers will be busy adding up their Black Friday weekend sales, but there already are some surprises in store—especially with some unexpected bestsellers including footwear.

According to The NPD Group, Inc.’s Anatomy of Black Friday study, topping shoppers’ list over the weekend were apparel (28%) followed by toys at 11%. Neither were surprises. That cannot be said of footwear, however, which came in No. 3 at 9%.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD, had cited footwear as a category-to-watch this holiday season. Other bestsellers were movies and food (both 9%), video games (6%) appliances (6%) gift cards and tablets (both 5%), TVs (4%) and perennial gift favorite, books rounded out the top 10 at 4%.

An Eye Toward Self-Gifting, Too

“With footwear being a popular ‘self-gifting’ item, the rise of footwear to the top three illustrates the influence that self-gifting has on holiday sales,” Cohen said. “This, combined with retailers doing a better job of including footwear in their doorbuster sales, made it a force to be reckoned with.”

For instance, crowds stomped their way to snap up big shoe boxes filled with boots at great prices, Cohen added.

Noting that TVs also did well, Cohen said that along with the footwear purchases “lead me to believe that this part of the holiday shopping season is as much about self-gifting and deal hunting as it is about purchasing gifts for others.”

The weekend may have all been about shopping but not everyone actually purchased. NPD reports that 37% said they didn’t buy because they were unable to find what they wanted. Another 22% said they didn’t buy because the item(s) they were looking for were out of stock.

Other reasons people didn’t buy over Black Thursday/Friday included:

18%–“Deal not good enough”

16%–“Lines too long”

13%–“Ran out of money”

Thanksgiving Day Sales Here to Stay

“Overall, when you look at Black Thursday/Friday, we found that 53% of the shoppers shopped on both days (true shopaholics, indeed), with 33% of those who purchased on Thursday also purchasing on Friday,” Cohen said.

Such figures tend to validate notions that Thanksgiving Day sales may erode Black Friday sales.

“But don’t expect retailers to bail out on the new tradition of selling on Thanksgiving. With this year’s solid sales performance, I anticipate Thanksgiving store hours are here to stay,” Cohen said.


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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology.