Black Friday Off to Strong Start Online, Quiet Offline
Fewer people lined up outside stores as Black Friday shopping kicked off, suggesting early discounts offered by retail chains and a surge in online buying may have taken the shine off America’s biggest shopping day, according to CNBC. Spot checks on the ground showed there were fewer shoppers this year as retail chains started offering discounts earlier than usual to make up for a shorter holiday season this year. However, the shopping holiday is off to a strong start online, according to data from Adobe Analytics. As of 9 a.m. EST this morning, $600 million had already been spent online, representing 19.2 percent growth year-over-year. The full holiday season is tracking at 14.9 percent YoY growth, with $57.2 billion spent online between 11/1 and 11/28, representing a comparable* increase of 16.0 percent YoY. (Because Thanksgiving is a week later this year, the YoY growth is calculated using an additional estimated week for 2018).
Total Retail's Take: The slow start seen at brick-and-mortar stores this Black Friday morning is indicative of a couple of trends: one, more shoppers prefer to avoid the crowds in-store to purchase online from the comfort of their own homes (including on their mobile devices). And with deals online in many cases matching what can be found in-store, consumers are turning Black Friday into an online shopping event like Cyber Monday. And two, retailers are increasingly launching their holiday deals earlier in November, and in the process de-emphasizing the importance of Black Friday as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.