Black Friday In-Store Sales Undercut by Thanksgiving Early Birds, Mobile and Web


The so-called “Grey Thursday” pre-Black Friday rush didn’t seem to stop Walmart from having its best Black Friday ever. So how did it all play out over the weekend, and as Cyber Monday morphs into Mobile Monday?

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Total spending for the weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation. Last year the group said sales rose 16% over the weekend. A consumer survey conducted for the trade association by BIGinsight found that shoppers spent an average of $423 over the weekend, up 6% from $398 last Thanksgiving weekend.”

As noted by Reuters, comScore estimated that “Black Friday sales during the 24 hours of November 23 passed $1 billion ($1.042 billion) in online sales for the first time, making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2012 (with 57 million shoppers visiting e-commerce sites) and a 26-percent increase versus Black Friday 2011. Thanksgiving Day (November 22), while traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 32-percent increase to $633 million.”

According to IBM’s Black Friday 2012 report, US shoppers once again took advantage of early promotions this holiday season, driving a 17.4 percent increase in online sales Thanksgiving Day. This increase set the stage for 20.7 percent growth on Black Friday. Online sales on Black Friday increased 21% over last year, IBM estimated by analyzing data from 500 retailers, including 50 of the 100 largest web retailers. The biggest surge came from mobile consumers, with sales reaching 16.3 percent, led by the iPad. Other takeaways by IBM:[more]

  • While the number of orders jumped, the average order size per customer shrank 4.7% to $181.22, however. IBM said the average number of items in an order also declined, by 12% to 5.6 items, reflecting free-shipping deals offered by online merchants. “It takes fewer items in a consumer’s basket to get them over that free-shipping threshold,” commented Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM Smarter Commerce, to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Mobile purchases soared with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2011.
  • Apple’s iOS dominated holiday shopping, 330% greater than Android. The iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smart phone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping. This was followed by iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android 5.5 percent. The iPad dominated tablet traffic at 88.3 percent followed by the Barnes and Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.
  • Consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best bargains. Overall 58 percent of consumers used smartphones compared to 41 percent who used tablets to surf for bargains on Black Friday.
  • While consumers spent more overall, they shopped with greater frequency to take advantage of retailer deals and free shipping. This led to a drop in average order value by 4.7 percent to $181.22. In addition, the average number of items per order decreased 12 percent to 5.6.
  • Shoppers expressed positive consumer sentiment on promotions, shipping and convenience — as well as the retailers themselves — at a three to one ratio.
  • Shoppers referred from social ntworks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube generated .34 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, a decrease of more than 35 percent from 2011.

Below, highlights from IBM’s Black Friday Trends 2012 infographic: