Black Friday Figures In: Mobile Up, Store Down

November 30, 2016         By: Steven Anderson

Black Friday just doesn’t mean what it used to. With a lot of shoppers eager to get their shopping done before December even shows up, with shoppers eager to turn to mobile devices to both shop and pay for shopping, and stores eager to accommodate by starting up the deal season increasingly early, it’s not a surprise that Black Friday looks more like Kind of Dark Gray November.

New word from the National Retail Federation says that shoppers may have been up, and they’re increasingly focused on mobile.

The National Retail Federation’s data revealed that about 99 million people went shopping in stores on Thanksgiving weekend, but that around 109 million shopped online. That’s almost parity, and a little in favor of the online devices. Drawn in by deals—better than a third of shoppers claimed that everything they bought was on sale—it was clear that shoppers were increasingly turning to devices to shop.

Moreover, the data found that transactions actually declined the farther into the holiday weekend we went. While Internet sales cleared the $3 billion mark for the first time on Black Friday this year, net sales at brick-and-mortar fell five percent. The total transactions likewise fell 7.9 percent over the period, showing that a lot of shoppers were likely fairly close to done the farther in they got.

This should serve as an opportunity for stores to add extra power to their online shopping options; by now, that really should have been done anyway, but with it becoming increasingly clear that customers want to shop online—and increasingly by mobile—there’s no real excuse for not having a robust mobile and online presence.

Speaking here as an online shopper myself—most of my purchases will be delivered by Amazon in the next several days—it’s certainly more convenient than any other method, and has more to choose from as well.

With customers eschewing Black Friday—did anyone else notice a light amount of Black Friday brawl footage this year?—in favor of staying home and shopping online, it’s clear that more tools and resources will need to be put in place to complete online shopping methods. We’ve already seen some of this going on as more businesses put warehouse staff in place over cashiers, and we’ll likely see even more of this next year.