5 takeaways from Black Friday weekend

Ann Santiago
November 30, 2017

About 81 million people shopped online on Monday, a day of big internet sales known as Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation.

More than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the holiday weekend, topping a prior forecast calling for 164 million, the National Retail Federation revealed Tuesday.

Shoppers on average spent $335.47 over the five-day period, with older millennials spending the most at $419.52 each, according to the NRF survey of 3,242 consumers on November 25-26.

Average expected spending per person was $335.47. The trade group said Tuesday that the shopping data reaffirmed its earlier prediction that total sales this holiday season would increase by as much as 4 per cent over past year.

Online merchants racked up a record $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday alone, the company found. "People increasingly know where to find the best deals and what they want to purchase, which results in less price matching behavior typically done on desktops".

The kickoff to the holiday shopping season is a now a five-day affair of discounts and perks - and nicknames, stretching through Black Friday into Small Business Saturday and finishing on Cyber Monday. Matt Shay concludes, "We had a very strong Black Friday Weekend".

RetailMeNot, Inc. estimates that approximately $4.4 billion in retailer sales were attributable to consumer transactions from paid digital offers in its marketplace in 2016, more than $600 million of which were attributable to its in-store solution.

For some retailers, those numbers were even higher: Shopify, an e-commerce software provider for small- and medium-sized businesses, says that mobile transactions accounted for 60 percent of all sales yesterday, up 11 percent from a year ago.

"We are certainly encouraged that we are starting off from a position of strength", Shay told members of the media.

Commerce marketing firm Criteo said that 40 % of Black Friday online purchases were made on mobile phones, up from 29 % from previous year.

Preliminary data tracking shoppers' visits to physical stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shows a year-over-year decline of 1.6 percent, according to retail research firm ShopperTrak.

Nearly half of apparel sold online during the holiday season were marked down an average of 46 percent, according to research firm Edited. There were 58 million consumers who only shopped online compared with 51 million who stuck to the stores, according to the data.

When it comes to factors retailers can control, Shay says this year "Retailers have invested heavily in experience and tech... and saw those investments gain traction and pay off".

Shay said that although some say that retail stores are in their death throes, 24 of the top 25 e-commerce sites are still legacy brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy.

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