Black Friday shopping in stores drops 28% from pre-pandemic levels as shoppers spread spending throughout the season

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  • According to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions, retail store traffic on Black Friday dropped 28.3% compared to 2019 levels.
  • Sensormatic said traffic was up 47.5% compared to the year-ago level.
  • “It is clear that shoppers are buying early this season as they did last season,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic.
  • Online, retailers grew $8.9 billion in sales on Black Friday, down from a record nearly $9 billion spent on the Friday after Thanksgiving a year ago, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

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Traffic at retail stores on Black Friday dropped 28.3% compared to 2019 levels, according to preliminary data from Sensomatic Solutions, as Americans moved more of their spending online and closed their purchases earlier in the year.

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Sensormatic said traffic was up 47.5% compared to the year-ago level. This time in 2020, many shoppers stayed home due to the fear of the coronavirus pandemic and retailers worked in fewer hours.

“It is clear that shoppers are buying early this season as they did last season,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic. He said the two main reasons buyers are spreading their holiday shopping are the ongoing concerns about Covid and concerns about the supply chain.

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Sensormatic said the peak time for Black Friday shopping in stores was 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., similar to trends in previous years. According to Sensormatic, Black Friday is still projected to be the busiest in-store shopping day of the season.

On Thanksgiving Day, visits to brick-and-mortar stores dropped 90.4% from 2019 levels, Sensormatic found. Retailers including Target, Walmart and Best Buy opted to keep their doors closed to customers on the holiday. Target has said that this will be a permanent change.

Field said shopper traffic on Black Friday was closest to returning to 2019 levels in the South, followed by the Midwest and then in the West and Northeast. They don’t believe the growing fear around the new COVID version, Omicron, has had any effect on consumer behavior.

“If you start seeing outbreaks in America, that’s the thing that I think will drive [traffic down] It will happen if governments and communities start closing again,” Field said. “Otherwise, I think the trend will be a lot like what we expect them to be.”

Black Friday online spending falls from 2020 levels

Online, retailers posted $8.9 billion in sales on Black Friday, down from a record nearly $9 billion spent on the Friday after Thanksgiving a year ago, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Adobe said this is the first time that development has reversed from the previous year. Adobe analyzes more than one trillion visits to US retail sites, with over 100 million items across 18 different product categories.

Adobe said that on Thanksgiving Day, consumers spent $5.1 billion on the Internet, which is flat from the year-ago level.

The numbers provide even more evidence that the holiday season has been extended as more Americans begin their shopping in early October. Retailers are also spreading their promotional offers. According to A survey by the National Retail Federation, the leading trade conglomerate of the retail industry, 61% of consumers had already started buying holiday gifts before Thanksgiving.

Vivek Pandya, a principal analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, said, “Buyers are being strategic in their gift shopping, buying very early in the season and being flexible when they shop to ensure they get the most. Get a good deal.”

Adobe is predicting e-commerce sales on Cyber ​​Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, will be between $10.2 billion and $11.3 billion.

Buyers can expect to find a wide variety of items out of stock, however, supply chain complexities reduce inventory levels for some companies.

According to Adobe, out-of-stock messages on retailers’ websites are up 124% through Friday versus pre-pandemic levels. Adobe said stock-out rates for appliances, electronics, housekeeping supplies and home and garden items are the biggest.

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