The world has survived another Black Friday– one that has set new records and hinted at future tendencies. Online sales in particular crushed expectations, and according to Adobe Digital Insights, totaling an unprecedented $3.34 billion dollars, corresponding to 11.3% growth over year-ago totals., with mobile accounting for 35 percent of the total.
Per the norm, electronics and toys dominated the sales charts; according to Adobe top-grossing electronics in 2016 are Apple’s iPads and Macbook Air laptops, the Xbox console and televisions from LG and Samsung.
Data from IBM, meanwhile, showed US holiday retail trends catching on globally.
IBM said global retailers’ online sales went up 24 percent with as much as 2,100 hits every second in the first hours of the renown shopping day.
“It is clear, online shopping during the US holiday period has become a global phenomenon,” said Harriet Green, general manager at IBM Commerce, which manages systems for retailers.
IBM said pre-holiday online shopping was up 10 percent over 2015, and that this momentum likely pointed to similar gains for the early season.
Online payments firm PayPal meanwhile reported “double digit growth in payment volume” on mobile devices during the first eight hours of Cyber Monday.
“The nature of how people shop has changed,” said Anuj Nayar, senior director of global initiatives for PayPal, “people shop everywhere, people shop at all times in day, people shop in five-minute increments on the bus when they commute home.”
So what does this mean on the traditional rush to get in line at the brick and mortar shops? Data released earlier by the National Retail Federation showed relatively flat total retail sales for Black Friday, noting that 44 percent shopped online, compared to 40 percent who went in stores. Suggesting that while the holiday stampede is still a thing, there is a growing preference for online shopping.
Mobile devices enable consumers to shop virtually anywhere at any time. A recent PayPal holiday buying survey found 34% of respondents will shop in bed for their partner or spouse while sleeping next to them, 22% confessed they will shop on the toilet and 35% admitted they will even shop at the Thanksgiving dinner table in order to capitalise on a killer deal.
“PayPal also found shoppers were spending most of their money on fashion purchases, but that only goes to show the types of merchants that were popular in its network, compared to a larger shopping trend. What’s selling will vary by retailer.”
Even among consumers who shopped primarily in stores for Black Friday deals last year, 31% planned to shop mostly online this time around, while 20% expected to divide their shopping equally between the physical and digital realms, according to JDA Software Group’s second annual holiday buying survey.
“We did call Black Friday ‘Couch Friday,’ just because we believe store traffic could be down as much as 3 to 4%,” Cowen and Company analyst Oliver Chen told CNBC. Mall-based apparel retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic and Chico’s were among the hardest hit this year, Stifel analyst Richard Jaffe said in a research note cited by CNBC. Even so, Wal-Mart, Victoria’s Secret, Foot Locker and Urban Outfitters all attracted significant foot traffic, said Dana Telsey, CEO of Telsey Advisory Group.
There may yet be more to come in online shopping world, an industry still in its infancy, according to Yory Wurmser, analyst at the research firm eMarketer, “We’re still in the early part of the smartphone commerce revolution, and the development of better app search, payment systems and commerce on new platforms should propel sales strongly in 2017.”
And while that may be, there is still something for the rush and panic of the traditional race for the stores. Some Black Friday habits are simply hard to break, said Michael Brown, a partner in global strategy and management consultant A.T. Kearney’s retail practice. “The retail store is still an important part of the consumer shopping experience,” Brown told Retail Dive. “Stores are critical for social and inspirational shopping needs.”
So while there is a growing wave of mobile and virtual shopping, many traditionalists can look forward to their yearly Black Friday sales mob.