Shoppers beat Black Friday this year.
Traffic at retail stores sank 28.3% compared with 2019 levels on the day-after-Thanksgiving kickoff to Christmas shopping, CNBC reported, citing preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.
The drop reflected the trend of Americans shifting more of their spending online — and starting their Christmas shopping earlier in the year, the news outlet reported.
“It’s clear shoppers are shopping earlier this season, just as they did last season,” Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic, told CNBC, pointing to COVID-19 concerns and supply chain worries.
The data also showed traffic was up 47.5% compared with 2020 levels, when many shoppers stayed at home amid fears about COVID-19 and retailers operating on reduced hours, CNBS reported.
The peak time for Black Friday shopping in stores was 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., similar to trends in past years, the data found — and Black Friday is still predicted to be the busiest in-store shopping day of the season, the news outlet reported.
On Thanksgiving day, visits to brick-and-mortar stores cratered 90.4% from 2019 levels, Sensormatic found. Retailers including Target, Walmart and Best Buy chose to close on the holiday. Target has said it will be a permanent shift.
Field told the news outlet that traffic on Black Friday was closest to returning to 2019 levels in the South, followed by the Midwest and then the West and Northeast. He doesn’t believe fears over the omicron variant had any impact on consumers’ behavior that day.
“If you start seeing outbreaks in the U.S., the thing that I think would drive [traffic down] would be if governments and communities start locking down again,” Field told CNBC. “Otherwise, I think the trends will be very similar to what we expect them to be.”
CNBC reported that according to data from Adobe Analytics, retailers rang up $8.9 billion in sales on Black Friday, down from a record of about $9 billion the year earlier — the first time ever that growth reversed from the prior year.
On Thanksgiving day, consumers spent $5.1 billion on the internet, flat from year-ago levels, Adobe found, the news outlet reported
Retailers have been spreading out their promotional offers, as well.
A survey by the National Retail Federation found 61% of consumers had already started purchasing holiday gifts before Thanksgiving.
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