The day following Thanksgiving officially kicks off the Christmas shopping season. It has come to be known as Black Friday, indicating the period in which retailers start to turn a profit, or enter the black, each year. The entire "black week" continues through the weekend, with Monday now known as Cyber Monday. Loyal shoppers can either take the day off or continue shopping, even though they have officially returned to work. Last year, an estimated 49% of Cyber Monday purchases were made from computers at office locations.
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With Black Friday 2011 fast approaching, below are a number of statistics from last year that should shed some light on what trends are likely to resemble this year. It also sets a base to help determine whether black week will be as successful as last year.
Last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that 212 million individuals hit the shopping aisles on Black Friday. They spent an estimated $45 billion, or roughly $365 per person, which was up more than 6% from 2009. More than 60% of shoppers finished shopping by 9 a.m., and close to 10% were already in active shopping mode by midnight. The next wave of activity hit at 5 a.m., with another 10% up and about and likely on their way to waiting in line at their targeted retail location.
Looking out over the past five years, the average shopper spending was about $375 in 2008, but this plummeted to $345 in 2009 as the credit crisis sapped consumer sentiment and shopping dollars.
Despite the ups-and-downs over the past three years, all figures are up, solidly, from 2005, where 140 million shoppers spent just over $300 each, on average. Purchase trends have remained relatively consistent, though, with the most popular items in the clothing, toy, consumer electronics and multimedia categories, the last of which consists of books, DVDs and video games. Other categories of notable interest include sporting goods, jewelry and gift cards.
With the growing popularity of online sales, demand continues to migrate to the web. On Black Friday, 33.6% of consumers that responded to an NRF survey stated they shopped online, which was up from 28.5% in 2009. However, discount stores and department stores continue to be the most popular venues, with roughly half of all shoppers frequenting these underlying retail businesses. (For additional reading regarding to online shopping, check out: Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams.)
Last year, CNNMoney.com detailed that virtual shoppers spent $1 billion on Cyber Monday. This represented year-over-year growth of 16% and, though it paled in comparison to Black Friday's total sales figures, represented what was, then, the largest online purchase day in history. And, the total of online sales for the month of November 2010 was very impressive with $13.6 billion, or 13% growth from the previous November.
Returning to the NRF survey, 65.8% of respondents said they shopped during Black Friday. The momentum carried well into Saturday, with 59.3% responding they would be shopping then too. Nearly 30% said they planned to also shop on Sunday, with Cyber Monday the following day and statistics detailed above.
Predictions for 2011 are already in full swing. A survey of opinions includes projections that sales for the entire holiday season will rise in the low single digits from 2010, though foot traffic percentage will fall a bit. Internet-based sales will continue to take a bigger share of the total retailing pie, and rise again in the low double digits.
In terms of product categories, apparel sales are predicted to grow almost 3%, with a shift to lower-end and more affordable clothing brands, given the latest round of economic uncertainty. Electronic sales could be surprisingly light, rising only about 1% on the rollout of a lower number of new and blockbuster products. These sales should see a faster migration online given their fungibility, and ability for shoppers to compare and strike the best deal through cyberspace. (For additional reading, check out: 4 Coupon Sites Worth Checking Out.)
The Bottom Line
In about eight weeks, Black Friday 2011 will officially be underway. The sentiment is certainly more subdued, given the financial market volatility and fears that European economic struggles will send the global economy back into recession. On the flipside, though, this could cause individuals to drown their sorrows in shopping malls and online, placing them in more of a shopping mood as the holidays fast approach.