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Discounts Drive Weekend Sales Higher

Online Sales Surge

Nov 26, 2012 8:11 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Retailers continued to attract crowds with heavy discounting and promotions this past ‎Thanksgiving weekend, but more consumers preferred to make their purchases online than ever before. ‎

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated that Black Friday was the busiest shopping day as 89 million consumers visited stores or shopped online, up from 86 million in 2011. More than 81 million consumers shopped on Saturday, reflecting an 8 percent year-on-year increase, and nearly 42 million shopped on Sunday, or an increase of 14 percent from 2011. However, Thanksgiving Day experienced the largest increase of any day, up 23 percent year on year as more than 35 million took advantage of early store hours and online deals. The NRF estimated that retail spending jumped almost 13 percent year on year to $59.1 billion for the four-day weekend. 

retail sales ‎“With shopper traffic increasing at department, discount, and clothing stores over the ‎weekend, it’s clear that consumers still recognize Black Friday as one of the biggest ‎shopping days of the year, as they have for decades,” said Pam Goodfellow, director of ‎BIGinsight Consumer Insights, which conducted the survey for NRF. ‎

However, researchers at ShopperTrak, a provider of retail data about foot traffic to stores, noted that ‎Black Friday proved to be a mixed bag as foot traffic increased 3.5 percent year on year, but sales ‎decreased slightly by 1.8 percent. The reason for this appeared to have been early openings on Thursday, which zapped away some of the planned spending on Friday.‎

‎“This year, more retailers than last year began their ‘doorbuster’ deals on Thursday, ‎Thanksgiving itself,” explained Bill Martin, ShopperTrak’s founder. “So while foot traffic ‎did increase on Friday, those Thursday deals attracted some of the spending that’s ‎usually meant for Friday.”‎

Goodfellow explained that consumers were drawn to retailers’ aggressive online ‎promotions this year too, knowing how shoppers planned to compare prices well in advance of the ‎weekend to ensure they found the best deals. ‎Additionally, the NRF survey found that the average shopper spent $424 this past weekend, up from ‎‎$398 recorded over Thanksgiving weekend in 2011. ‎Of that amount, $172 was spent online, compared with $150 last year, according to the NRF.

The survey also found that 15.2 percent of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers bought jewelry or ‎precious metal accessories and that was up from 13.8 percent recorded on the holiday weekend of 2011. However, consumer electronics was again the most popular category, although the 37.7 percent ‎who said they bought such products was less than the 39.4 percent who said they had in ‎‎2011. Gift cards showed the strongest growth as 32.6 percent said they opted for them, ‎up from 23.1 percent in 2011. ‎

Digital matrix firm comScore reported that online retail sales just on Black Friday rose 26 percent ‎year on year to $1.04 billion, making it the highest grossing day for retailers so far in 2012. ‎The company added that online spending on Thanksgiving Day rose 32 percent to $633 ‎million. ‎

‎“Despite the frenzy of media coverage surrounding the importance of Black Friday in the ‎brick-and-mortar world, we continue to see this shopping day become more and more ‎prominent in the e-commerce channel – particularly among those who prefer to avoid ‎crowds at the stores,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman.‎

The most popular websites  visited were Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple.‎

The online metrics firm expects Cyber Monday, November 26, to be the heaviest online shopping ‎day so far with sales exceeding $1.5 billion.  ‎
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Tags: Avi Krawitz, NRF National Retail Federation comScore ShopperTrak Rapaport Jewelry Diamonds Black Friday T
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