With the novel coronavirus still on the loose, no one really knew how this year’s Black Friday would go. It was expected that shopping would be down considerably overall. After all, thousands upon thousands of brick and mortar stores have been forced to close, whether by state and local health guidelines or because they could simply not afford to stay open any longer.
However, that’s not precisely what has happened.
In fact, this year sets a new record for Black Friday sales, coming in at about $9 billion being spent. The amount is an increase of 21.6 percent year over year. It is also noted to be the “second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, coming in behind Cyber Monday 2019,” according to ABC News.
However, that record won’t likely last long. As totals come in from this year’s Cyber Monday sales, Monday will probably take the cake. Data from Adobe Analytics suggests “spending between $10.8 billion (15% year over year growth) and $12.7 billion (35% year over year growth).”
Now, that doesn’t mean that some shopping attributes didn’t see some decline due to COVID-19.
As you can likely expect, in-store purchases were way down compared to last year – a whopping 52.1 percent, to be exact. And that trend is likely to continue throughout the 2020 shopping season. Adobe expects that in-person shopping and sales will be down about 22 to 25 percent over the new six weeks.
As Brian Field of Sensormatic Solutions says, “We knew Black Friday (traffic) was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down.”
But as I mentioned, this doesn’t mean people aren’t buying things up left and right. They’ve simply changed the way they shop.
Take in-store and curbside pickups, for example.
Where this form of shopping used to practically nonexistent, it now flourishes just about everywhere. According to CNBC News, these shopping tactics increased by a massive 52 percent on Black Friday. And this doesn’t only include big box stores. Sales reported by small retail businesses were up 545 percent compared to any average day last month, which is excellent news considering these businesses were the most affected by pandemic lockdowns.
But changes to this year’s shopping season don’t only include how people are buying but also what they are buying.
Since people are buying more online, we are seeing many items once really only purchased in-store now being ordered online, according to ABC News and director at Adobe Digital Insights Taylor Schreiner recently said in a statement.
“We are seeing strong growth as consumers continue to move shopping from offline to online this year. New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditionally Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store.”
And this is even more prevalent in areas that have placed heavy restrictions on travel, family gatherings, and capacity limitations. ABC News says, “COVID-19 restrictions on family gathering drive sales: In states that put COVID-19 restrictions around family gatherings, there was a 265% higher year-over-year growth in online shopping over the last two days compared to states with less restrictions.”
But it isn’t just Black Friday and Cyber Monday that are expected to make record sales. In fact, according to Adobe and Sensormatic Solutions, the whole shopping season is likely to see an increase. This, according to Fields, is because people are “spreading out” their shopping.
He says. “Shoppers are spreading out their shopping throughout the holiday season because of concerns about social distancing and the pandemic.”
Instead of rushing to stores first thing Friday morning, consumers chose to do a bit of shopping online, encouraged by the many online sales being had on the day. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are only expected to have much of the same results. Shopping will still be done; it will just happen over a more extended period of time and with much more sales being made online.
But this also means, much to the Democrats’ chagrin, President Trump can’t be blamed for a bad economy. How it be all that bad when people are spending more than they ever have before, whether it’s online or in-person?