Total sales in the US on Black Friday fell almost 12% to $10.21 billion this year, down from $11.6 billion in 2014, according to research firm ShopperTrak. Thanksgiving Day grossed an estimated $1.76 billion in sales which is 12.5% dive versus 2014. Combined the two shopping days accumulated a projected $12 billion in combined sales for brick-and-mortar retailers, which is an estimated decrease from 2014.
One of the major reasons for the decline can be attributed to a steady increase in online shopping. As shoppers skip the crowds and stay at home while hunting for the best deals on their smartphones, tablets, and computers. Some retailers started marketing Black Friday deals as early as October.
“This year, we saw Black Friday ads emerge before Halloween, as retailers aimed to get at the shopper’s wallet early,” said Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak chief revenue officer. “And from our data, we saw greater retail sales generated prior to the Black Friday weekend, which is a result of retailers successfully elongating the holiday season. Ultimately, while many question the ongoing relevance of Black Friday, it is still the biggest sales day of the year and signals the start of the holiday shopping season.”
The two dates also saw thinner crowds as the preliminary numbers indicate a decrease in shopper visits on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday when compared to last year.
“Fewer visits on both days reinforce the trend we’ve seen throughout the year, in which shoppers are researching products ahead of time, targeting their store visits, and arriving in-store with the intention of making a purchase,” added Kearns. “The decrease in shopper visits on Thanksgiving Day also lends itself to the social backlash against store openings on the holiday.”
While several of the top sales days still remain, and December is anticipated to be strong, Kearns believes retailers will still “maintain a 2.4% increase in sales for brick-and-mortar retail this holiday season.”