NRF REPORT: Retailers Rang Up Solid Sales During Thanksgiving Weekend

By at 28 November, 2017, 7:35 pm

Small Business Insider

The Economy

by Raymond J. Keating-

For retailers, the holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year. That is, if sales are healthy.

The early news for Thanksgiving weekend, including Cyber Monday, was very positive, according to the National Retail Federation. More than 174 million Americans shopped during this period – both in-store and online – which topped an estimated 164 million based upon an earlier NRF survey.

“All the fundamentals were in place for consumers to take advantage of incredible deals and promotions retailers had to offer,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “From good weather across the country to low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, the climate was right, literally and figuratively, for consumers to tackle their holiday shopping lists online and in stores.”

The NRF reported:

● “Average spending per person over the five-day period was $335.47, with $250.78 — 75 percent — specifically going toward gifts.”

● “Retailers’ technology investments paid off with consumers seamlessly shopping on all platforms through the long weekend. The survey found that over 64 million shopped both online or in stores. In addition, over 58 million shopped only online, and over 51 million shopped only in stores. The multichannel shopper spent $82 more on average than the online-only shopper, and $49 more on average than those shoppers who only shopped in stores.”

● “In addition, 63 percent of smartphone owners used their mobile devices to make holiday decisions, and 29 percent used their phones to make actual purchases.”

● As for in-store shopping, the top days over the weekend were Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, while online shopping was most active on Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

Unfortunately, no historical comparisons were available as the NRF altered its methodology this year.  (Read more analysis and data from the NRF report here.)

However, other reports showed strong growth versus last year. For example, CNN reported, “Black Friday 2017 was all about digital sales. American shoppers spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours. That marks a 16.9% increase in dollars spent online compared with Black Friday 2016, according to data from Adobe Digital Insights, which tracks 80% of online spending at America’s 100 largest retail websites.”

Meanwhile, foot traffic declined slightly: “Early estimates from ShopperTrak, a data analytics company that measures the number of shoppers at stores, said foot traffic ‘decreased less than one percent when compared to Black Friday 2016.’ A meager dip is good news for traditional retailers.”

CNBC reported: “GlobalData’s preliminary tracking figures have already predicted total Black Friday sales to have risen the most since 2011.” News was positive from Kohl’s, for example: “Some of America’s department stores, though, are already calling the day a victory. ‘Black Friday sales and traffic have been very strong, both online and in store — well ahead of last year,’ Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement Friday evening. The retailer said it delivered a ‘record-breaking’ Thanksgiving, both in stores and online. More than 16 million visits were made to, Kohl’s said, outpacing any prior traffic or sales precedents.”

CNBC also reported: “Cyber Monday sales were on pace to hit $6.59 billion by the end of the day, Adobe Insights revealed Monday evening. That projection, made by the firm at 10 p.m. ET, would represent an increase of 16.8 percent when compared with the same time last year, Adobe found.” This would be the biggest online shopping day in history, and total online sales during the holiday season are expected to total $100 billion. In addition, this same survey found that online Black Friday spending registered $5.03 billion, up 17 percent over last year, and Small Business Saturday and Sunday sales rose by 10 percent from 2016.

Finally, good news on the retail front to kick off the holiday shopping season is good news for small businesses, as 98 percent of all retailers, according to the NRF, have fewer than 50 employees.

Here’s to the rest of the Christmas shopping season offering robust sales for America’s small businesses.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.

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