According to Reuters, sales at brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were not as strong as last year, though online sales saw a significant increase as more consumers choose to avoid hordes of crazed shoppers in local shopping centers.
RetailNext, an analytics firm that studies consumer trends, said that overall sales for the two biggest shopping days of the year fell about about 1.5% from last year. They added that average spending per shopper dropped by an estimated 1.4%.
Data from another analytics firm, ShopperTrak, showed that sales at brick-and-mortar stores totaled about $12.1 billion on Thursday and Friday. In 2014, ShopperTrak reported that there were $12.29 billion in sales during that same period.
Both firms agreed that rising competition from online shopping was a primary factor for the decrease in Black Friday in-store shopping. Until a few years ago, stores wouldn’t begin offering discounts until the day after Thanksgiving. Now, many stores debut bargains on Thanksgiving Day and extend deals well into the following week.
According to The Washington Post, these extended discount periods have made it possible for consumers to stagger their holiday shopping, prompting some to spend even more money before and after Black Friday.
About 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and many can’t make additional purchases until their next check arrives. By extending these discounts, stores encourage consumers to take advantage of deals at their convenience instead of ignoring them due to lack of funds.
Thanksgiving Day online sales were a whopping $1.73 billion, while Black Friday online sales totaled over $2.74 billion, denoting a 14% increase from last year. Experts add that the meteoric rise of online holiday shopping can be attributed to mobile-friendly websites that allow consumers to buy items directly from their smartphone or tablet.
The Black Friday insanity will be capped off on Nov. 30, which is known as “Cyber Monday,” but hardcore holiday shoppers know that the bargains don’t stop there. Holiday discounts will continue to be rolled out for the next month, and eager buyers will be standing by, smartphones in hand, waiting for the next great deal.