Five days of shopping, America is reckoning up

29 Nov 2018

According to National Retail Federation more than 165 million Americans participated in the five-day non-stop retail bonanza, from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday.

The latter, in particular, registered the highest number of online sales in history. With revenues, according to Adobe, of 7.9 billion dollars. And, of course, more than half of the visits, 54.3%, were "mobile".

Some observations could be useful in orientating oneself among the rants about the real or presumed records that have punctuated the five days. The NRF data show a slight decline compared to last year, when in the same period of time 174 million buyers were active. The average value of orders was also slightly higher, about $ 20 more than in 2018.

An interesting fact regarding social media: these have had a negligible effect on online sales, with a share of 1.3%.

BOPIS, never so important

According to NRF, 53% of buyers were involved in multi-channel shopping. Many of them ordered online on Thanksgiving and picked up purchases in shops on Black Friday.

For Adobe, in particular, the BOPIS mode (Buy Online Pick Up In Store) increased by 73% from Thursday to Friday, and according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 64 percent of these consumers made a further purchase in the store.

According to the same source, online spending for Thanksgiving 2018 reached 3.7 billion dollars. The strong growth (27.9% year on year) is due to many retailers making the choice to offer the same prices as the following day for the first time. The trading results of the day, although they can be explained in this way, have attracted much attention.

Online sales on Black Friday rose 23.6% compared to 2017. More than 6 billion, a third of which originated from smartphones.

In the shops

Looking at physical trade, on the other hand, the five-day estimates of ShopperTrak (1% downturn in pedestrian traffic) could be optimistic. RetailNext indicated a worrisome drop of 7% in sales, explained by pedestrian traffic decreasing by between 5 and 9%.

This data, however, is not inclusive of the actual performances of the various distribution chains. In fact, many have significantly offset the decline in physical trade with the increase in online sales. For analysts at Edison Trends, for example, Target's online sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday increased by 48% compared to last year and, over the same two days, those of Macy increased by 34%.