U.S. shopping season starts with record high online sales

US online sales climb to record high on Black Friday and Thanksgiving

Black Friday online sales rise, but footfall dips

From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the just-concluded holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. "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", NRF Chief Executive Matt Shay said on the call with reporters. So, too, did the efforts retailers have made to attract shoppers to their websites and stores. "A lot of things can change between now and then. We have nearly five weeks to go [until Christmas], lots of things can change, but we are certainly encouraged to start off from a position of strength". "I think that does bode well for the rest of the year". And Shay noted that with 24 of the top 25 e-commerce retailers hailing from the brick-and-mortar world, traditional retailers are growing their share.

Sales occurred over multiple platforms as online shopping continued to gain strength. More than 64 million said they shopped both in stores and online. In addition, more than 58 million shopped online only, and more than 51 million shopped in stores only. Three-quarters of that was spent on holiday gifts, according to the NRF. They spent about 25 percent more than the average shopper.

To say that Apple enjoyed a profitable few days during the recent holiday shopping weekend would be a gross understatement. "We saw that play out over the weekend".

Promotions during the weekend were largely uninspiring, Barclays analysts said in a note, adding that deeper discounts could continue into December rather than being concentrated on Cyber Monday. More than 81 million shopped online on Cyber Monday.

"The number of people who do both is going to continue to rise", Stern said.

Cyber Monday is expected to have beaten Black Friday for the first time to become Britain's biggest shopping day of the year. The volume, a single-day record, was 9 per cent over the previous high, set on Black Friday a year ago, according to USA Today, which first reported the gun sales.

Adobe Analytics estimated that the USA holiday season would deliver $100 billion in sales for the first time. That doesn't mean more money was spent online.

"We find that Black Friday shoppers are actually more active on their phones than shoppers during typical days", Sutton says. Thanksgiving weekend demonstrated that shoppers are still invested in the brick and mortar experience.

Online spending totaled $5 billion, up significantly from $3.34 billion previous year.

The annual dip of 3.6% is a clear reaction to the impact of retailers spreading out offers over the week leading up to Black Friday, when footfall rose by 1.3% annually.

McMillan-Doolittle's Stern said the in-store performance was better than anticipated and contributed to what was an upbeat weekend across retail. But it still serves as a barometer of retail health as the industry enters the critical holiday season. The federation said it was sticking to those projections as retailers move into what Shay described as the "halftime break of the holiday season". The NRF, whose overall production sales data is strictly observed every year, is scheduled to release Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday sales numbers on Tuesday.

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