Black Friday has come and gone, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. This year experts predicted that U.S holiday sales would increase 3.7% this year to $630.5 billion, while online sales would experience 6-8% growth and account for $105 billion in sales.1 So did these trends ring true this year especially as Black Friday has shifted from a single mega-shopping day to a week or month-long event? According to an article in the New York Times, brick-and-mortar shops saw less action this year and retailers saw an increase of sales from the web.2 Adobe, which tracked more than 180 million visits to over 4,500 United States retail websites this Thanksgiving, said shoppers spent $1.73 billion online on Thursday — or 22 percent more than 2014. Almost 60 percent of the traffic came from mobile devices.3 ShopperTrak said early promotions in November were a bigger factor hurting Black Friday than store openings on Thanksgiving evening.4
In our blog post last week, we addressed the Black Friday trends we saw in 2014. According to the credit applications transactions that cross our ID Network®, the ID Analytics team saw a significant increase in Black Friday credit applications over the prior year, which seemed to indicate an upward trend in spending during the holiday shopping season, despite lower-than-expected sales on Black Friday.
This year we compared the application volume we saw on the Black Friday shopping weekend, November 27-30 to a normal shopping weekend, October 23-26. The Black Friday weekend saw a 175% increase over the weekend of October 23 showing that shoppers are still focused on taking advantage of the weekend deals. (Note: Volumes were sampled to ensure consistency of observation year over year).
The application volume on Black Friday weekend saw more account opening on Thursday than Cyber Monday. Another interesting trend that we saw was account opening occurred during 2-4 pm on Friday which aligned with Google’s Black Friday high traffic times.5 Even though we saw an increase in account opening on Thursday and Friday, overall account opening volumes were lower in 2015 than 2014.
Could this mean that the Black Friday weekend may be losing its luster as retailers are offering deals throughout the month of November or are consumers shifting their shopping behaviors? According to Adobe, online Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales tracked by Adobe Digital Index were $4.47 billion, up 18 percent from a year earlier and higher than its expectation of $4.35 billion.6 With 2015 trends showing an increase in online sales during the holiday weekend, consumers may be expecting an easier digital account enrollment process, which resulted in lower volumes this year. So what should retailers focus on next year especially during the holiday season? Check back next week as we will continue our Black Friday blog series and share some interesting insight on trends we saw in specific demographics and geography.
Ken Meiser is the Vice President of Identity Solutions at ID Analytics.