Recap: Black Friday Weekend Sales Decline, But Rise on Cyber Monday

In Reports, What's New, Industry News by Jeff Prine

black-friday-and-cyber-monday-2015-881x557Chicago and New York—Total tallies are trickling in and so far they tend to substantiate what many retail analysts have predicted: Black Friday creep has resulted in lower sales on the traditionally strong Black Friday sale day. But online sales continues to grow boosting Cyber Monday (Nov. 30) to the largest online sales day in history.

In its release today, ShopperTrak, a leading global provider of consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics ( estimated brick-and-mortar retail sales on Black Friday weekend, including Nov. 26 to Nov. 29, accumulated to $20.43 billion in total sales, which is an estimated 10.4% decrease versus 2014.

“It’s important to view the decrease in context. There are several contributing factors, including fewer available store hours on Thanksgiving Day and a later Hanukah that is anticipated to push sales into December,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “Most important, the success of the holiday season doesn’t hinge on the performance of a single day.”

Not Bad: In-Store Sales

Thanksgiving Day 2015 grossed an estimated $1.76 billion in sales, a 12.5% decrease versus 2014; Black Friday 2015 garnered an estimated $10.21 billion in sales, which is an estimated 11.9% decrease versus 2014.

“Seven out of the top ten sales days still remain, and December is anticipated to be strong,” added Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak chief revenue officer. “With that in mind, we still maintain our 2.4% increase in sales for brick-and-mortar retail this holiday season.”

According to Adobe’s stats today, a record $2.98 billion (12% more than in 2014) will be spent online on Cyber Monday. “Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday will drive a total of $11 billion in online sales, a 15% increase year over last year and 30% of all online sales in November ($39.5 billion).

Brick-and-click retailers saw the strongest growth in sales year over year with 18% reversing the trend of Cyber Monday being an online-only retailer day. The first 18 days in December are all expected to be $1 billion sales days, Adobe stated.

But other analysts remain skeptical that online sales will rise enough to meet predictions for total increases in the 2015 holiday season.

Writing in her blog today for Unity Marketing, Pam Danziger said, “Retailers’ remaining hope is that Internet sales will pull them out this year, but given consumers’ current attitudes and shopping behavior throughout 2015, it is extremely unlikely that the economy will see anywhere near the 3.7% increase National Retail Federation predicts for this holiday season.”

Compared to the last three months of 2014, core retail spending (excluding dining out and automobile expenditures) is down .4%, Danziger noted.

“The use of ‘click and collect’ this Thanksgiving holiday weekend highlights the growing popularity of omnichannel shopping,” said Jesse Tron, ICSC Spokesperson. “Even with competition from online retailers, the physical store continues to play a central role in the shopping experience, and this is not expected to change.”

Spending Totals: Black Friday & Thanksgiving

The average Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday shopper spent $557 on those two days, divided as follows:

  • $245 in physical stores
  • $120 with online-only retailers
  • $110 online via retailers with a physical presence, for items shipping to their home
  • $82 online via retailers with a physical presence, for items to pick up in store

RetailNext Inc, a market leader in retail analytics for brick and mortar retail, reported that while sales were down 4.7%, they were 1.5-7.5 points better than the five preceding months, and the decline in store traffic was only half of the monthly declines reported earlier in the year. Sales per Shopper was up 0.3% over the holiday weekend, driven mostly by a 3.1% increase in Average Transaction Value (ATV). Conversion slipped slightly by 0.5%, in part due to the early Cyber Monday sales promotions started over the weekend, as well as savvy shoppers recognizing the end of the weekend does not denote the end of holiday price discounts and promotions.

The strongest performances for the weekend came from the Midwest and Northeast regions, where pent up shopping demand from the previous two months helped bring in shoppers. Both regions experienced positive sales per shopper growth through increases in ATV. A common theme among all regions was the drop in conversion, which ranged from 0.1 to 0.6%.

“The results for physical retail are generally positive when considering the growing influence of digital shopping, particularly in the mobile channel,” said Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “Over the holiday weekend, there were patterns of strong results for retailers with less effective digital channels, and they outperformed on the brick-and-mortar side of the business. Of course, the flip side was true for brands with strong digital presences and who offered a seamless multichannel experience, and it’s those brands who have a head start into retail’s most important season.”

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