Shopping Already Stronger Barreling Into Black Friday

Holiday Shopping

With most experts predicting moderately stronger holiday sales, consumers are already spending big: IBM Digital 

Analytics Benchmark says online sales in the weekend before Thanksgiving are up 18.7% compared with last year. (Mobile traffic accounted for 49% of all online traffic, it says, a 25% jump year-over-year.)

Those gains come at a time when retailers have done all they can to disrupt the traditional shopping calendar, with Thanksgiving Day openings and more Cyber Monday promotions stealing attention away from Black Friday.

In fact, ShopperTrak, which measures mall traffic, is reportedly predicting that, as Thanksgiving Day sales eat into Black Friday, Super Saturday will actually become the biggest sales day of the holiday weekend.



In the latest forecast, the International Council of Shopping Centers says it expects 41% of U.S. consumers to shop at a store on Black Friday, 18% to do so on Thanksgiving, with 32% shopping either Saturday and/or Sunday. But it also reports that 36% intend to shop physically on Cyber Monday, a day online retailers would like to think of as all their own.

ShopperTrak is also reporting improving trends, writes Sterne Agee retail analyst Ike Boruchow. “During an earnings season when management commentary has skewed conservatively heading into the holiday,” he notes, “our recently held discussion with representatives of ShopperTrak gave us something to be thankful for.”

While year-to-date traffic is still well below what it was a year ago, particularly in the Midwest, “November sales have shown a distinct reversal of trend with improvements.”

Because so many more consumers research purchases online before heading to stores, “ShopperTrak pointed to a strong inverse correlation between traffic and conversion rates; though traffic may be declining, a larger share of that traffic is actually making a purchase today.”

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