Shoppers with bags from various stores stand side by side as Black Friday sales begin on November 26, 2021 at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, Kentucky.
Jon Cherry | Reuters
Retail store traffic was down 28.3% on Black Friday compared to 2019 as Americans shifted more of their spending online and started shopping earlier in the year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.
The traffic increased by 47.5% compared to Previous year levelsaid Sensormatic. This time around in 2020, many shoppers stayed at home due to fears about the coronavirus pandemic and the somewhat reduced opening hours of retailers.
“It’s clear that shoppers are shopping earlier this season, just as they did last season,” said Brian Field, Sensormatic’s senior director of global retail consulting. He added that the two main reasons shoppers hand out their Christmas shopping are ongoing concerns about Covid and worries about the supply chain.
The peak time for Black Friday in-store shopping was 1pm to 3pm, similar to previous years, Sensormatic said. Black Friday continues to be forecast as the busiest shopping day of the season, according to Sensormatic.
On Thanksgiving Day, brick and mortar store visits were up 90.4% from 2019 levels, Sensormatic found. Retailers including target, Walmart and Best buy decided to keep their doors closed to customers on the holidays. Target has said it will be a permanent shift.
Field said that Black Friday buyer traffic was most likely to return to 2019 levels in the South, followed by the Midwest, and then the West and Northeast. He does not believe that the increasing fears about the new Omicron Covid variant have influenced consumer behavior on that day.
“If you see outbreaks in the US, that would be what I think is driving [traffic down] would be if governments and communities would lock down again, “said Field.” Otherwise the trends will be very similar to what we expect. “
Online retailers had sales of $ 8.9 billion on Black Friday. less than the record of about $ 9 billion spent on the Friday after Thanksgiving a year earlier, according to data from Adobe Analytics. It is the first time that growth has reversed year-on-year, Adobe said. Adobe analyzes more than a trillion visits to US retail sites with over 100 million items in 18 different product categories.
On Thanksgiving Day, consumers were spending $ 5.1 billion on the Internet, unchanged from last year, Adobe said.
The numbers prove even more that the Christmas season has lengthened as more Americans started shopping as early as October. Retailers have also spread their promotional offers. Corresponding a survey by the National Retail Federation, the leading retail group, 61% of consumers had started shopping for Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving.
“Shoppers are strategic about gift shopping, shop much earlier in the season, and have flexibility when shopping to ensure they get the best deals,” said Vivek Pandya, senior analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.
Adobe predicts e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, between $ 10.2 billion and $ 11.3 billion.
However, shoppers can expect a wide variety of items to be out of stock as supply chain complications have messed up inventory at some companies.
According to Adobe, news on retailers’ websites that are out of stock was up 124% through Friday, compared to pre-pandemic levels. Household appliances, electronics, housewares, and household and garden items have the highest outages, according to Adobe.
NRF expects Christmas sales in November and December increase between 8.5% and 10.5%, for total sales between $ 843.4 billion and $ 859 billion, which would set a record year-over-year growth.