As part of our ongoing Industry Experts column, we are reprinting a blog posting from Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst for NPD Group. The original post ran here.
That’s right. Despite the surge of online and Thanksgiving Day in-store sales, combined with the less-than-stellar Friday in-store sales, retailers got the boost they needed from Saturday and even Sunday in-store business. Saturday and Sunday, which was almost non-existent last year, showed up to save the overall weekend business this year.
But, the feel of the weekend was different. It was filled with shoppers looking for ideas. It was filled with shoppers socializing and familiarizing themselves with the merchandise. Frankly, many were researching what to get next, after scoring online and in-store Black-Thursday deals. In the past consumers did their research online and then purchased in-store, but brick and mortar stores are now critical to consumers’ research needs. This translates to exactly what brick retailers needed to round out this Thanksgiving weekend – on Saturday and Sunday consumers came and bought, impulsively and socially.
Welcome to the new dynamic of the peak holiday shopping period that used to center around Black Friday and door busters. Now, redefined, pre-Thanksgiving online deals and Thanksgiving Day shopping take center stage. Stores play more of a supporting role, but they are still important to the holiday retail story, and they still score big.