Black Friday shopping in stores drops 28% from pre-pandemic levels

Shoppers with bags from different stores stand side by side when the Black Friday sale begins at The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, Kentucky, November 26, 2021.

Jon Cherry | Reuters

Traffic in retail stores on Black Friday fell 28.3% compared to 201[ads1]9 levels, as Americans shifted more of their spending online and started shopping earlier in the year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.

Traffic increased by 47.5% compared to levels a year ago, Sensormatic said. This time in 2020, many shoppers stayed at home due to fears about the coronavirus pandemic and when retailers operated on somewhat reduced hours.

“It’s clear that customers are trading earlier this season, just as they did last season,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic. He added that the two main reasons why buyers are spreading their holiday purchases are ongoing concerns for Covid and concerns for the supply chain.

The peak time for Black Friday shopping in stores was 13.00 to 15.00, in the same way as trends in recent years, Sensormatic said. Black Friday is still predicted to be the busiest shopping day of the season in the store, according to Sensormatic.

On Thanksgiving day, crater visits to brick-and-mortar stores 90.4% from 2019 levels, Sensormatic found. Retailers including Target, Walmart and Best Buy chose to keep their doors closed to customers during the holidays. Target has said it will be a permanent shift.

Field said shopper traffic on Black Friday was closest to returning to 2019 levels in the south, followed by the Midwest and then west and northeast. He does not think growing fears about the new Covid variant, omicron, had any impact on consumer behavior on the day.

“If you’re starting to see outbreaks in the United States, that’s what I think will drive [traffic down] would be if governments and communities start to lock in again, “Field said.” Otherwise, I think the trends will be very similar to what we expect them to be. “

Online Black Friday spending is falling from 2020 levels

Online retailers increased $ 8.9 billion in sales on Black Friday, down from a record $ 9 billion spent on the Friday after Thanksgiving a year earlier, according to data from Adobe Analytics. It was the first time ever that growth reversed from the previous year, Adobe said. Adobe analyzes more than one trillion visits to US retail sites, with over 100 million items in 18 different product categories.

On Thanksgiving Day, consumers spent $ 5.1 billion on the Internet, down from a year ago, Adobe said.

The figures provide even greater evidence that the holiday season has been stretched as more Americans began shopping as early as October. Retailers have also spread out their promotional offers. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the retail industry’s leading trading group, 61% of consumers had already started buying holiday gifts before Thanksgiving.

“Shoppers are strategic in gift shopping, buy much earlier in the season and are flexible when shopping to ensure they get the best deals,” said Vivek Pandya, a leading analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.

Adobe estimates e-commerce sales on Cyber ​​Monday, this year’s largest e-commerce day, at between $ 10.2 and 11.3 billion.

However, customers can expect to find a number of items that are not in stock, as complications in the supply chain have affected the stock level for some companies.

According to Adobe, sold-out messages on retailers’ websites are up 124% through Friday versus pre-pandemic levels. Appliances, electronics, household items and home and garden items have the largest sales rates, Adobe said.

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