Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday Weekend Roundup

The results are in, and by all accounts Black Friday weekend - which now includes Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday (they haven't managed to brand Sunday yet) - was a blowout in terms of the number of shoppers and dollars spent, as well as the sheer amount of media and industry hype.

The National Retail Federation, based on a survey of 4,005 people of their spending intentions, estimated that 139.4 million adults spent $59.1 billion over Black Friday weekend, or 12.8% more than in 2011.

So what do the results actually tell us about what to expect for the overall holiday season? Not much.

Barry Ritholtz over at The Big Picture reminds us "that people are very bad at forecasting their own behavior," and goes on to summarize this year's coverage of "Black Friday’s Media Hall of Shame."
There is zero correlation between what people say their gift shopping intentions are on these surveys, and what they actually spend.
This might lead you to think that the media to be somewhat circumspect in reporting the breathless nonsense from an industry PR group; that merely reprinting a press release is not actual journalism; Perhaps you might suspect a lack of basic math skills would dissuade you from financial reporting.
However, you would be wrong.

Businessweek lays out a strong case for why we should take this weekend's performance with a grain of salt:

Also, keep in mind that 4 of the 5 busiest and 8 of the top 10 shopping days of the season will come in December.

However, we did learn several important things this weekend:
  • E-Commerce continues to gain momentum, with online sales on track to increase 15-20% over last year
  • Mobile devices, especially the iPad and iPhone, are becoming increasingly important consumer tools for research and purchases
  • Social commerce, for all its potential, has yet to make a dent in shopping penetration

With all that being said, here is a complete roundup of this weekend's results:

Thanksgiving Day Promotions Win Over Millions Of Holiday Shoppers (NRF)
Retail Sales Increase 2.7%, Retail Foot Traffic Up 8.2% During “Black Weekend,” (ShopperTrak)
2012 Black Friday Cyber Monday Benchmark Results (IBM)
Cyber Monday Spending Soars to $1.46 Billion, Online Sales Up 16% So Far in November (comScore)
Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday Mobile Commerce by the Numbers (eBay)
Insights Into Online & In-Store Retail Holiday Shopping Trends (Chase HolidayPulse)
Expect record sales for the 2012 holiday season (Adobe)

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