Retail sales during the winter holiday season represents an indicator of economic activity and consumer sentiment. Black Friday and Saturday, the first two holiday shopping days after Thanksgiving, have been dubbed thus because they represent the days when most retailers traditionally move the bottom line from red. Recently stores have extended the weekend by adding Thanksgiving to the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday. Coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), Cyber Monday extends the Black Friday retail event for online shoppers to the Monday after Thanksgiving.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that 174 million shoppers were out shopping in the stores or online during the kickoff 2017 holiday weekend. This represents 20 million more shoppers than last year and 10 million more than the estimated 164 million expected to shop. Black Friday was the most popular day with 77 million consumers out in the stores and 81 million shopping on Cyber Monday online.
Nationally, consumers averaged over the weekend, $335 a shopper, up from $289 last year. The biggest spenders were older Millennials (25-34 years old) at $419.52.
Different methods are used by each forecaster to predict holiday sales but all of them have predicted an increase this year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts an increase of 3.6 to 4.0 percent in holiday sales to $682 billion. The Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey forecasts an increase of 4.0 to 4.5 percent while the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) forecasts a 3.8 percent increase. ComScore Inc. is predicting a happy holiday sales season for U.S. web retailers with a forecast of a 20% increase to $96 billion in sales this holiday online shopping season.
According to the NRF's Prosper Insights & Analytic survey, almost seven in ten consumers in the Midwest, including Missouri, were planning to shop on Black Friday. Almost half in the Midwest also planned to shop online on Cyber Monday. The majority in all regions planned to shop in stores first before shopping online.
2017 Black Friday Shoppers
Deloitte’s survey shows that eight in ten consumers plan to spend more than last year, a potential 5 percent increase than last year. The survey also shows that gifts represent one-third of the holiday spending while the remaining represents self-gifting and experience or entertaining. Eight in ten plan to use their computer to browse online or make a holiday purchase. Six in ten plan to use their smart phone to browse and comparison-shop during the 2017 holiday season.
2017 Black Friday Planned Purchases
**The sum of the totals may be greater than 100 percent because the respondents can choose more than one answer.
Consumer sentiment toward buying, along with economic and weather conditions, will play a large role in the overall results of retail spending this year. The accuracy of the analysts' predictions will remain to be seen as the holiday season continues.
Sources: International Council of Shopping Centers, National Retail Federation, Prosper Insight Analytics, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, cnn.com and comScore, INC.