Black Friday is well known as the biggest shopping day of the year, occurring after the US Holiday Thanksgiving on the fourth Friday in November. According to the National Retail Federation the 2015 rendition of Black Friday was a mild disappoint, “151 million people shopped online or in-person this holiday weekend, and spent an average of $299.60. Of those who shopped in stores over the weekend, 74.2 million shoppers shopped on Black Friday.” The retail in-store technology company RetailNext estimated in-store sales slipped by 1.5% from 2014. One of the many potential reasons for a dip in traffic is retailers "have taken the sense of urgency out for consumers by spreading their promotions throughout the year and what we are seeing is a result of that," said Jeff Simpson, director of the retail practice at Deloitte.
The good news for retailers is the number of shoppers has not declined but how they shopped has changed. Internet technology firm comScore reported digital sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday reached $4 billion this year, up 20 percent from 2014. That means desktop and mobile buying accounted for 25 percent of all sales over the two days. "We've got this channel shift occurring, and it really seems to have accelerated over this holiday period". Even more impressive, these numbers do not include Cyber Monday. According to Adobe quoted in the Los Angeles Times, “Online sales for this Cyber Monday are expected to total $3 billion for the first time, a 12% increase from a year ago”. However, online sales for this year's Black Friday will reach $2.7 billion — a 15% increase from last year — and they'll likely surpass Cyber Monday's sales in 2016, Adobe Systems predicts.”
So what does it all mean?
The trend toward digital is blurring the traditional lines across Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire holiday shopping season. Consumers are more empowered than ever, and digital is the driving force behind this trend. They no longer have to show up to a brick-and-mortar retail store at midnight on Black Friday with thousands of other desperate shoppers to find a deal. They expect deals to be offered all throughout the holiday season, and they expect to be able to benchmark deals through their mobile device.
It also means that retailers should not only break down paradigms regarding the holiday season to get closer to their customer, but also break down how they isolate trends and patterns in their data in order to get closer to their customers. The trend in the analytics world is toward agile analytics empowering the knowledge worker to make their own discoveries. At Qlik we refer to this as seeing the whole story within your data, which in the context of the holiday shopping season, means visualizing your customers shopping patterns across all channels, across all data sources, for the entire holiday season rather than just Black Friday or Cyber Monday in isolation. I invite you to give it a try with the Qlik Black Friday Shopping Guide app. Happy shopping!
Photo credit: mccun934 / Foter.com / CC BY