With Black Friday around the corner many retailers are preparing for what has historically been one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The national retail federation predicts that U.S. holiday sales during November and December will increase 3.7% this year to $630.5 billion, while online sales will experience 6 – 8% growth and account for $105 billion in sales.1 Interestingly, over the past few years Black Friday has shifted from a single mega-shopping day to a week or month-long event, with many consumers taking advantage of the seasonal deals from the comfort of their homes, rather than venturing out to the mall. Retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart have introduced Black Friday-like deals online as early as November 1st, while at least one retailer, REI has announced that they will be closed on Black Friday.2 Has the one-day shopping frenzy known as Black Friday lost its luster for consumers?
According to Yoram Wurmser, retail analyst at eMarketer, these early Black Friday offers reflect the ways shoppers purchased goods last year. Wurmser argues that in the coming years, the importance of Black Friday as a single-day event driving shoppers to stores will diminish, due in part to stores offering deals earlier in the week.2 This is consistent with our indictors from last year’s benchmarking data. In 2014 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. How do retail credit applications break out geographically? In looking at applications from the 2014 holiday season we found that the Southeast, specifically Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia had the highest application volume during Black Friday 2014. The application volume for these states was 1.3 times higher than the rest of the county with South Carolina having the highest percent of volume. The state with the lowest application volume in 2014 was Montana.
Check back after Cyber Monday for our wrap up of Black Friday retail trends.
Ken Meiser is the Vice President of Identity Solutions at ID Analytics