USA stores offered deep discounts, entertainment and free gifts to lure bargain hunters on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday retail season, but some shoppers said they were just browsing the merchandise, reserving their cash for internet purchases.
Personally, I'd recommend leaning into a niche for your store. But this year, Black Friday is drinking Cyber Monday's milkshake, a new report has revealed: Black Friday's 2017 online sales passed up a record $5 billion, up 17 percent over last year.
"Last year, sales were pulled forward by the increased November activity, and as we move into December, we're expecting to see a repeat of last year's pattern with footfall slow to build, after Black Friday has taken the stuffing out of bargain-hunters, but we're predicting a resurgence of activity in the last week before Christmas". An order placed online but picked up in a store counts as a digital sale, but would the customer have still placed the order if the item could not have been picked up?
US consumers kicked off the holiday shopping season with an online frenzy, breaking spending records over Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday.
It is no secret how important the holiday season is to retailers. They had ended the regular session up 2.1%, boosted by comments from Chief Executive Jeff Gennette, who told CNBC that Macy's was better off this year than last, had robust online demand and was in a good place for holiday promotions.
The National Retail Federation (NRF), which had predicted strong holiday sales helped by rising consumer confidence, said on Friday that fair weather across much of the nation had also helped draw shoppers into stores.
About 69 percent of Americans, or 164 million people, intend to shop at some point during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, according to a survey released by the NRF.
Online purchases continue to steal a bigger slice of the holiday shopping pie.
Added to that is the trend of shoppers choosing online rather than in-store to complete purchases during the Thanksgiving weekend. Jill Renslow, Mall of America's executive vice president of business development, said stores like Nordstrom, Macy's and Best Buy were crowded. Indeed, some chains struggled to keep up, with brief online outages experienced by Lowe's, H&M and the Gap, among others, according to website performance monitors.