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 to black. 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 165 million shoppers were out shopping in the stores or online during the kickoff 2018 holiday weekend. Black Friday was the most popular day with 67 million consumers out in the stores and 67.4 million shopping on Cyber Monday online. Small Business Saturday had 47.4 million consumers out shopping.
Nationally, consumers averaged over the weekend, $313 a shopper, down from $335 last year. The biggest spenders were older Millennials (25-34 years old) and Gen Xers (35 to 44 years old) at $413.
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 4.3 percent to 4.8 percent in holiday sales to $720 billion. The Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey forecasts an increase of 5.0 to 5.6 percent while the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) forecasts a 4.5 percent increase. ComScore Inc. is predicting a happy holiday sales season for U.S. web retailers with a forecast of a 18 to 19 percent increase in sales this holiday online shopping season.
According to the NRF's Prosper Insights & Analytic survey, eight in ten Midwest consumers, including Missourians shopped online and/or were out in stores during the Black Friday weekend. Almost half of Midwest consumers began their weekend shopping on Thanksgiving evening.
2018 Black Friday Shoppers
Deloitte’s survey shows that seven in ten consumers plan to spend the same or slightly more than last year, a potential 5 to 5.6 percent increase than last year. The survey also shows that almost eight in ten plan to self-gift with clothes, health and beauty aids, books and food. Gift cards topped Black Friday planned purcahses in the Deloitte survey.
2018 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.