Foot Traffic, Online Traffic Stay Strong on Black Friday, NRF Says

The National Retail Federation, in its annual Thanksgiving-weekend wrap-up, says that although a little less was spent than in prior years, there were more consumers this year—and many of them were shopping online.

The good news for retailers is that shoppers were out in full force on Black Friday. The bad? Those shoppers were a little more interested in big deals than in prior years, which meant a little bit of a hit on the bottom line.

That’s the latest finding from the National Retail Federation, which revealed a jump in the number of shoppers over Thanksgiving weekend (154 million, up from 151 million last year) but a slight drop in the average amount spent per person ($289.19, down from last year’s total of $299.60).

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay was generally upbeat about the Thanksgiving-weekend results, based on a survey released Sunday by the association and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“It was a strong weekend for retailers, but an even better weekend for consumers, who took advantage of some really incredible deals,” Shay said in a news release. “In fact, over one third of shoppers said 100 percent of their purchases were on sale.”

One significant trend noted by NRF was the jump in online shopping, which outpaced sales in brick-and-mortar stores this year: 44 percent of consumers surveyed went online, while 40 percent went to various stores.

This trend jibed with one reported by Adobe Digital Insights, which found that this year’s Black Friday was the largest ever for online sales, driving $3.34 billion in sales on that day alone and $5.27 billion with Thanksgiving Day added into the mix. That, says Adobe, represents a 17.7 percent year-over-year increase.

But brick-and-mortar stores still held plenty of appeal for shoppers, especially for those who went to department stores, discount stores, and electronics stores. The three categories represented the most popular during Thanksgiving weekend, according to NRF’s survey.

But NRF still has its eye on online success as well. Looking toward Cyber Monday, NRF anticipates more than 122 million people will take part in the laptop-driven shopping holiday—though 23 percent of those shopping this year will be using a mobile device.

Shoppers, shown in a checkout line at a Target in Culver City, California. (David McNew/Reuters)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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