What Black Friday And Cyber Monday Sales Foreshadow For Fourth Quarter Retail Results

The numbers are in, and they are telling us that Black Friday weekend doesn’t matter as much anymore, and it doesn’t necessarily kick off the holiday shopping season as it once did. We think there are three culprits for the changing face of the Black Friday shopping event, and certain companies that are poised to benefit this holiday season.

The National Retail Federation released their results for Black Friday weekend which showed sales from Thursday – Sunday fell 11% from the year-ago period. Data also solidified a growing preference towards online shopping (ie: why deal with lines and crowds when you can shop from the comfort of your own home or anywhere on your mobile device?), with comScore Inc. reporting record Cyber Monday sales that grew 17% year-over-year and topped $2B in sales to become the heaviest online spending day in history. With many retailers offering the same discounts online as they were in their brick-and-mortar stores, as well as free shipping, the choice seemed obvious.

Not only did online shopping hurt the traditional Black Friday sales, but promotions and discounts were offered a lot earlier this year, and have extended well beyond the weekend. Consumers have learned from last year that there is no longer just one finite weekend to take advantage of holiday deals, and that better discounts may even come in the week or two leading up to the holidays. Many retailers even turned Cyber Monday into “Cyber Week.”

The last factor which seems to be playing into shopping patterns this season are the improvements in the job market. We all know the the employment situation plays a big role in how confident consumers feel about spending, and this morning we got the best jobs data of the year. Nonfarm payrolls for November came in at 321,000, only the second time we’ve been over the 300k mark this year, and the highest reading since January 2012 turned in 360,000. Unlike during the recession when Black Friday promotions were critical, consumers seem more confident and not as desperate to jump onto deals. Today’s consumer is valuing different things such as free shipping this season.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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