Black Friday buying in shops drops 28% from pre-pandemic ranges

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 spending on Black Friday is down from 2020 levels

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.

TSA screenings surpass 2019 ranges in pandemic first

Travelers wait in line at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Orlando International Airport in May 2021.

Paul Hennessy | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration said Friday that airport controls rose above 2019 levels for the first time in the pandemic, suggesting strong travel demand over the weekend of July 4th.

The TSA screened nearly 2.15 million people on Thursday, nearly 3% more than the 2.01 million people who went through security checkpoints at U.S. airports on July 1, 2019.

The trend is unlikely to last. July 1, 2019 was a Monday and a low point for the week when screenings rose by more than 706,000 people and peaked on July 5.

Still, the milestone shows the surge in air travel demand since a widespread introduction of vaccines in the US this spring and a relaxation of pandemic-related closures or restrictions. The increase is mainly due to domestic vacation travel in the United States, with most long-haul business and international travel still on hold.

The airlines are battling a multitude of thunderstorms this week in the US, causing delays in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, home of Southwest Airlines and American Airlines Hubs.

Southwest canceled 194 flights, or 5% of its schedule, on Friday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. More than 1,100 flights – or 32% of the daily schedule – were delayed, the website said. About 160 major American scheduled flights – or 5% of the schedule – were canceled and nearly 1,000 were delayed.

Storms around New York City and Denver also delayed more than 1,000 flights on Friday.

Airlines and airports also try to have enough staff for the high summer season.

Transportation companies were not allowed to take involuntary leave of absence for workers to pay $ 54 billion in state payroll. However, the airlines turned to voluntary action, urging employees to take buyouts, take early retirements or take temporary leave during the pandemic. Some are trying to hire or recall them, as well as hire temporary or new full-time workers to meet increasing demand.

Earlier this week, CNBC reported that Southwest Offer double payment to flight attendants and agents for ground and cargo operations to work shifts in the first week of July to avoid flight disruptions. American announced last month that it had cut its schedule for the first half of July by about 1%, in part due to the surge in demand and staff shortages.

JetBlue Airways said flight attendants who fail to call between July 1 and September 6 will receive $ 800 or four confirmed one-way passes on future flights.

“This summer is not going to be easy financially or operationally, and operations are making this time even more difficult,” said Ed Baklor, JetBlue’s vice president of in-flight experience, in a memo verified by CNBC.

Delta Airlines is in the process of hiring 1,300 reservation agents by the fall after customers have been exposed to hours of waiting. The airline is also planning to hire pilots, flight attendants and mechanics.

United Airlines – which, like Delta, was more conservative in starting flights this summer compared to American and Southwest – wrote to federal aid and a deal with their pilots union that kept many Airmen informed and available to address some of their competitors’ operational challenges avoid.

Also airports are with a wide variety of personnel challenges, with some concessionaires offering $ 1,000 signing bonuses to fill open positions for cashiers, chefs, and other jobs.