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Retail Rebound in Full Effect: Thanksgiving Weekend Results Point to Rebirth

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
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Online sales rose more than 2% on Black Friday, reaching $6 billion.

Customers are embracing holiday shopping again. While the days of overnight campouts and Black Friday stampedes have thankfully come to an end, the excitement around holiday shopping, and particularly the Thanksgiving Weekend has been revived.  

Thanks to a healthy economy and low-levels of unemployment, shoppers are opening up their wallets like never before, setting retail up for its best holiday shopping increase of the decade. It is predicated that holiday sales could increase as much as 6% year-over-year, which would mark the greatest such increases since 2011.

Online sales rose more than 2% on Black Friday, reaching $6 billion as shoppers continue to embrace the digital experience. While a solid increase in digital shopping was expected, the surprise of the holiday shopping kickoff was the performance at the store level.

Store visits were down about 1.7% on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, as shoppers increasingly prefer to shop online and avoid the in-store crowds. But don’t read too much into it, 76% of shoppers plan to spend the same or more in-store this season ― meaning that although foot traffic might be off a hair, those that make it out to the store, do it with a purpose.

The distinction between online and physical shopping continues to blur and that evolution was on display during Thanksgiving Weekend. Sixty-four percent of shoppers that utilized click-and-collect on Thanksgiving and Black Friday made an additional purchase in-store, highlighting the need for an efficient and enjoyable in-store pickup experience.

And perhaps the most encouraging statistic from the weekend ― the majority of Black Friday sales were to new customers. It is predicted that 21% of these new customers will buy again within three months of their initial Black Friday purchase. Deals are driving shoppers to new retailers and quality experiences are helping keep them.

Below is a quick look at the early results from Black Friday and the overall holiday shopping season:

Black Friday Results

  • Online sales rose more than 2%, reaching $6 billion on Black Friday. Adobe Analytics
  • 57% of all Black Friday Sales were to new customers, it is predicted that 21% of these new customers will buy again within 94 days of their initial Black Friday purchase. ― Bluecore
  • 30% of Black Friday shoppers considered their purchases up to two weeks in advance. ― Bluecore
  • Shoppers spent an average of $227 on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. ICSC 
  • Among shoppers that utilized click-and-collect (27% on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday), 64% made an additional in-store purchase. ICSC 
  • Online sales, particularly from smartphones, was up 28% from last year to $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving. ― Adobe Analytics
  • Overall sales totaled $23 billion on Black Friday, up about 9% from 2017. ― Mastercard
  • Store visits were down by about 1.7% on Black Friday and Thanksgiving.ShopperTrak
  • Mobile devices accounted for 67% of all digital traffic on Black Friday, up from 61% on the same day last year. ― Salesforce
  • 5 most-talked-about retailers on social media on Black Friday: Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Etsy and Target. Salesforce

Holiday Shopping Season Results

  • 45% of holiday shoppers said they’d shop at non-peak times to avoid the rush. 16% even said they’d get their shopping done before Black Friday. ― A.T. Kearney
  • 76% of shoppers plan to spend the same amount or more in-store compared to last year with the largest gains from younger shoppers, especially younger men. A.T. Kearney
  • More than 1,400 dark web posts targeting Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the dark web were discovered, indicating that cybercriminals are offering their own version of these seasonal sales.RepKnight 
  • Through November 21, holiday spending is up 2.6% year-over-year. ― First Data
  • 66% of shoppers felt positively about retailers being open on Thanksgiving Day, and 59% of those said they were likely to shop on Thanksgiving Day. ― ChargeItSpot 
  • Holiday shoppers say they will spend an average of $420 during the holiday weekend and 88% of shoppers expect to spend more or the same on the holiday season than they originally intended to. ― Deloitte
  • 73% of consumers plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, which is poised to capture nearly half (47%) of all online spending that occurs over the course of the Thanksgiving Weekend. Cyber Monday is also gearing up to be the day that takes the most dollars at an average of $170. ― Deloitte
  • 54% of teens plan to do much of their shopping at brick-and-mortar discount stores, about a third (35%) planned to head out to the shopping malls.Junior Achievement USA
  • 1 in 5 consumers getting holiday deliveries already feel behind schedule buying gifts; holiday shoppers list expensive shipping fees (35%) and making sure gifts arrive on time (28%) as common holiday shopping concerns. ― uShip
  • More than 40% of holiday shoppers will make nearly all of their purchases online ― e-commerce sales expected to reach $134 billion this holiday season. ― TransUnion
  • Shoppers are predicted to spend about $720 billion during the 2018 holiday shopping season, a 4.1% boost over 2017 holiday retail spending. ― AccuWeather
  • Consumer appliances lead all product categories with 15.2% projected year-over-year growth. Other strong categories predictions include jewelry (+5.2%) and Apparel (+12.7% men's clothing, +4.3% women's clothing, +14.2% other apparel). ― IBM
  • Holiday shopping sales are expected to increase by their greatest margin since 2011, a 6% increase over 2017. ― eMarketer

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