Black Friday 2017: Credit Applications Peak Early

by Ken Meiser

Ken Meiser

If you happened to turn on your local news on Thanksgiving evening, you probably saw interviews with shoppers who were camped out at select retailers, some for days, in anticipation of ‘Black Friday’ deals. A national survey by Ebates revealed that 79 percent of Americans planned to go shopping on Black Friday, while 44 percent said that they would camp out for the best deals.1

Not everyone lined up outside retailers’ doors. Online sales hit a record $5 billion this year, a nearly 17 percent increase compared with Black Friday 2016.2 Like their in-store consumer counterparts, online shoppers started early and racked up sales to the tune of $640 million by 7 a.m. PST—a boost in sales 18.4 percent higher as compared to a year ago at the same time.3

Every year ID Analytics examines Black Friday application volumes in our network. Similar to news reports of in-store and online consumers shopping early in the day, credit applications also peaked early this year.

Since retailers often offer extra discounts and incentives for opening a new account with them, including charging the day’s sales to the retailer’s credit card, the volume of new account applications can be an indication of the overall sales volume a retailer will see on Black Friday.

In 2016 the highest volume of overall credit applications in the ID Network® occurred from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST, while 2017 saw applicants getting a jump start on their shopping day with the peak hours hitting between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. PST.  Our retail volume showed the most dramatic shift with more applications earlier in the day.4

In fact, after 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST the average number of applications per hour decreased by 18 percent compared to the average applications submitted prior to 1 p.m. PST on Black Friday.

 

Figure 1. Data based on credit and loan application information tracked by the ID Network, 2017.

Whether the early birds camped out for their deals or shopped from the comfort of their own homes, business is booming on Black Friday weekend 2017. This is the first in our Black Friday blog series covering trends in credit application volumes starting Thanksgiving Day and continuing through Cyber Monday. Spoiler alert: online applications appear to be the clear choice this year.

For more information about how ID Analytics can help support your organization’s fraud risk management during this high-volume retail season, download our webinar “Protecting the Peak: Fraud Strategies for Peak Retail Days.”

 

1 Footwear News, http://footwearnews.com/2017/business/retail/americans-black-friday-camp-out-455307/ (Accessed November 24, 2017)

2 CNN Money, http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/25/news/black-friday-holiday-shopping-foot-traffic/ (Accessed November 27, 2017)

3 Tech Crunch, https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-deals-net-640m-in-sales-so-far-mobile-60-of-all-traffic/ (Accessed November, 27, 2017)

4 Data based on credit and loan application information tracked by the ID Network, 2017.