Are Black Friday results a sign of Christmas 2018 things to come?
While the shift to online selling continued, a number of other factors — including a recovery in lower-income household spending, an acceleration of in-store pickup and possible stabilizing of store traffic — may have provided a boost to sales over Black Friday weekend.
Among the early findings:
- Online spending still booming: Adobe, which tracks transactions at 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers, estimated online sales rose 23.6 percent on Black Friday over year-ago after climbing 28 percent on Thanksgiving. More online-specific deals are helping the gains.
- Mobile influence increases: Adobe found 33.5 percent of online sales on Black Friday came from mobile devices, compared with 29.1 percent in 2017. Kohl’s reported 80 percent of its online traffic came from mobile devices on Thanksgiving.
- Lower-income household boost: The Wall Street Journal’s Black Friday wrap focused on the likely benefit retailers are getting from increased spending from lower-income households due to lower gas prices and higher hourly wages. For the first time in a few years, middle and higher income households may spend at a lower rate this holiday in part due to the choppy stock market.
- Foot traffic flattening?: RetailNext estimated traffic at U.S. stores fell between 5 percent and 9 percent during Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared to 2017. But a poll of 60 U.S. mall managers from real estate services provider JLL found the wide majority reporting flattish traffic. ShopperTrak found that traffic fell only one percent over the two-day period, improving from the 1.7 percent drop in 2017.
- Holiday pick-up: Buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) orders were up 73 percent from Thursday to Friday, Adobe found. Target, Kohl’s and Walmart are among a number of retailers touting the option this year. About half of consumers expected to BOPIS this holiday season, according to NRF’s holiday survey.
Many reports underscored that planned promotions before and after the weekend have lessened the relevance of Black Friday. ShopperTrak predicted eight of the season’s 10 busiest in-person shopping days are still to come.
- Store Traffic Falls Again on Black Friday but Not All News Is Bad – The Wall Street Journal
- Retailers Encouraged by Black Friday Shopper Traffic Results – ShopperTrak/Business Wire
- Black Friday Delivers: Strong Retail Results Supercharge the Holiday Shopping Season – International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)/Business Wire
- Holiday shoppers used their phones to spend $1 billion this Thanksgiving – CNBC
- Black Friday shopping pulled in a record $6.22 billion in online sales: Adobe – Yahoo Finance
- Retail Unwrapped – Adobe
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s your take on the 2018 Black Friday results? Do you see any unusual factors driving revenues? Does Black Friday offer any insights into how the holiday season will play out?