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Could we be seeing a major shift in Black Friday weekend sales?

Could we be seeing a major shift in Black Friday weekend sales?



Retail projections were smashed and records were made last weekend during the annual Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekend. The question becomes, does this major upswing signal a change in our traditional Black Friday shopping experience?

Let’s examine the numbers, first. Each retail survey and analytics agency uses their own methodologies for gathering their numbers but a clear trend of more people shopping this year is apparent across the board. A growing number of people are shopping online—even on Black Friday, which has been known for decades as the day to get up early to get amazing in-store deals.

According to the 2016 International Council of Shopping Centers Thanksgiving/Black Friday Shopping Report, more than 75 percent of Americans spent the same or more this year than last year.

The report also shows that:

  • 89% of shoppers used both in-store and online purchasing
  • 80% of all spending happened with retailers who have a physical presence
  • 57% of adults visited stores and/or shopping centers on Thanksgiving Day and/or Black Friday, up from 51 percent in 2015
  • Among those who used a mobile device while shopping, 80% bought items in the store
  • 64% of those purchasing online and picking up in-store (click & collect) made an additional in-store purchase.


A different report—this one from the National Retail Federation—gives a clearer picture of the trend towards more online shopping. According to that survey, 44% of those they surveyed went online and 40% shopped in-store. The most popular day to shop online was Black Friday, up 1.3% from last year to 74%, followed by Saturday (49%), Thanksgiving (36%), and Sunday (34%). And, of those that shopped in store, 75 percent shopped on Black Friday, up 3.4% from last year, 40% on Saturday, 35% on Thanksgiving and 17% on Sunday.


While Black Friday showed gains, the big retail news seems to be from Cyber Monday. According to Adobe Digital Insights, Cyber Monday 2016 was the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce. Read that one more time: the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce. Consumers spent $3.45 billion online on Monday. The $3.45 billion indicates a 12.1% jump over Cyber Monday last year.


Overall, online sales in the U.S. total $40 billion this holiday season so far, according to Adobe Digital Insights. We believe this trend towards more omnichannel and online shopping will continue, with the possibility of Black Friday becoming more about online sales than in-store shopping. While online sales have continuously showed an upswing each holiday shopping season, we are starting to see that online could easily overtake in-store purchases in the not-so-distant future.


This does not mean, however, that in-store experiences are no longer important. Quite the opposite, actually. Those who shop online clearly still have a connection to stores with a physical presence and it’s important to keep those relationships in mind.


What an increase in online shopping during the holiday season means is a shift in how society does business—be it the stores, the shoppers, or the industries that support the retail industry. Instead of focusing entirely on in-store growth, companies are looking at improving their online infrastructure from the shopping cart technology to the delivery process.


We at On Time Logistics are seeing major changes in our business because of online sales increasing. We are needing to hire more seasonal workers than any previous year for last-mile deliveries for Amazon and other retail partners. While some of our hiring is seasonal at this time, we see those couriers and truck drivers becoming necessary as full-time contractors.


We also see that it will become important to extend specials and sales beyond just Black Friday. Big retailers such as Walmart are already doing this with their Cyber Week. We think that this concept will allow more people to shop, which will lead to more sales. We hope to see small businesses figure out a way to profitably follow suit with their in-store and online sales during the holiday season.

At On Time Logistics, we’ve recently added the ability to order same-day delivery in the Northwest Arkansas metro area. We encourage you to use it this busy holiday season and beyond!

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