Online wins the Black Friday weekend again
Not surprisingly, online sales by all projections grew sharply over Black Friday weekend while in-store purchases declined vs. the year-ago period. The encore performance appears to show that while investments are being made in physical stores, the e-commerce experience is improving at a faster rate.
Among the findings:
- Online spending over Thanksgiving and Black Friday grew nearly 18 percent vs. last year, according to Adobe;
- RetailNext found in-store sales dipped 10.4 percent on Black Friday as compared to the same day last year, while traffic dropped 10.6 percent;
- The National Retail Federation reported 43.8 percent of consumers shopped online during the four-day Black Friday weekend, up 4.2 percent vs. the same time span last year, while 40 percent shopped in-store, down 3.7 percent. Last year was the first year online outpaced offline over the weekend.
Online’s improving performance could be traced to greater comfort with online shopping, improved shipping speeds, and the desire to avoid the negatives of in-store holiday shopping (crowds, traffic, out-of-stocks, etc.).
Amazon.com, which again stepped up its holiday push, said orders were stronger on this year’s Black Friday than last. But competitors are raising their game.
Exploring the toy category, Boomerang Commerce found Walmart had more than doubled its online product assortment between Q1 and Q3 2016 and priced 55 percent of its popular toys at the same or lower price than Amazon. Toys “R” Us also increased assortments as well as exclusives, while Target focused on special pricing promotions.
Meanwhile, with people traveling and taking to second-screen viewing while watching football games, mobile shopping is taking off. Mobile phones accounted for 55 percent of website traffic on Black Friday and 36 percent of sales, according to Adobe.
Shelley Kohan, RetailNext’s VP retail consulting, told USA Today, “I think going forward, mobile shopping will become more relevant because it’s more convenient, it’s easier, and Millennials, who have the largest shopping power out there, are very comfortable shopping with their mobile devices.’’
Overall, combined online and store sales are projected to have declined again over the weekend vs. last year due to deals arriving well before the weekend and shoppers holding out for better deals.
- Thanksgiving Weekend 2016 – National Retail Federation
- Amazon’s Lead Narrows, Says Annual Boomerang Commerce Report on Holiday Pricing and Assortment of Toys and Games – Boomerang Commerce
- Holiday Shoppers Are Making More Purchases Online – The Wall Street Journal
- Online sales overshadow stores in 4-day shopping frenzy – USA Today
- U.S. shoppers spend less over holiday weekend amid discounting – Reuters
- Adobe Data Shows Black Friday Breaks Online Sales Record With $3.34 Billion – Adobe news release
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What new factors appear to be driving online’s expanding appeal over the holidays? Did you notice any other new or unusual shopping trends over the weekend?