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The Thanksgiving weekend is over. You ate your turkey with gravy and, likely, much more than that. Perhaps you also bought gifts during Black Friday. As a marketing expert you need to know about the changing nature of Thanksgiving Weekend Retail Sales. We looked at the stats published by different organizations and here are 6 key facts You need to know about.

1. More Shoppers Than Expected

descarga (4)Substantially more people shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend than was expected in surveys a few weeks ago. The National Retail Federation says that more than 151 million people shopped this weekend, either in a physical store or online — a big jump from the 136 million who said they planned to shop in a survey a few weeks ago.

2. Black Friday Is Not That Important Anymore

Black Friday sales were off more than $1 billion – from $11.6 billion a year ago to $10.4 billion, according to retailing research firm ShopperTrak. U.S. shoppers no longer blow the bulk of their holiday budgets on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. It’s a major shift that has made it difficult for stores to track and learn from shoppers’ spending habits during the traditional start to the busy holiday shopping season.

CHECK OUT: How Retailers are Luring Hispanic Consumers on Black Friday

3. E-Commerce Jumps

ComScore reports that e-commerce sales jumped 9% on Thanksgiving Day to reach $1.1. billion and 10% on Black Friday to $1.7 billion

4….and Off-line Tanks

descarga (2)Spending in stores fell 10 percent from last year on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Thanksgiving sales in stores fell from slightly more than $2 billion last year to $1.8 billion. Black Friday sales were off more than $1 billion – from $11.6 billion a year ago to $10.4 billion, according to research firm Shopper Trak. The NRF says 102 million people shopped in stores over the weekend, while 103 million shopped online.

5. Spending Per Person Decreases

It also estimated that spending per person was US $299.60. That’s below the nearly US $381 figure last year, but the group also said this year’s spending number is not comparable to those in previous years (NRF Data).

Thanksgiving weekend is now more like the second quarter, going into halftime” of a football game because retailers are offering special prices several weeks earlier.

6. Beware of Incomplete Picture

The data, without year-over-year comparisons, paints an incomplete picture of the behavior and spending of U.S. shoppers over the weekend. But overall, the NRF sticks by its pre-Black Friday prediction that sales in November and December will rise 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion. That’s below last year’s 4.1 percent growth. Thanksgiving weekend is now more like the second quarter, going into halftime” of a football game because retailers are offering special prices several weeks earlier, said Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation. That’s why the industry’s largest trade group forecasts November and December together, and is sticking with an earlier projection of a 3.7 percent sales increase from a year ago to $630.5 billion, he said. That compares with a 4.1 percent increase during holiday 2014.

In 2014 U.S. $50.9 billion were spent during the 4-day Black Friday weekend by 33 million U.S. consumers. Black Friday, Cyber Monday is the start to Holiday Shopping which in some retail sectors (e.g. jewelry, see table below) can amount to more than a third of annual sales. Portada interviewed top executives behind retailers including Sprint, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods and asked them about their plans for the Holiday Sales starting this Friday.

“We are extremely excited about our Black Friday offers which we think will resonate very well with our Hispanic audience,” says 1792007_cf2d6513a0_oKymber Umana, Hispanic Marketing Manager at Sprint (and Portada Editorial Board member). Umana adds that the Sprint postpaid audience includes everyone shopping for great Black Friday deals. We have planned holiday campaigns for several of our clients in our portfolio, including Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods says Daisy Terrazas-Cole, Planning and Multicultural Marketing Specialist at Haworth Marketing + Media. She notes that, in general, the primary target of the marketing campaigns for her clients “tends to skew toward a multicultural millennials and millennial family audiences.”

The Weight of Holiday Shopping 

Retail Segment% of total annual sales that occur in December
Jewelry Stores23.8 *
Chain Department 15.3
Discount Department 13.6
Apparel and Accessory Stores13.6
Electronics Sores13.4
Sporting Goods and Bicycle Shops13.5  

Source: National Retail Institute,2014. * November sales rate for Jewelry was 9.2%

What is Changing Versus Last Year?

How do big box retailers approach the Hispanic population changing compared to last year’s Holiday Season? Is the increased significance of content marketing and social media/advertising being reflected in new marketing approachues? According to Sprint’s Umana, “Digital marketing has not dramatically shifted our efforts because we have actively been engaging with our customers on and offline throughout the years. I would say that digital is becoming an increasingly important part of the Black Friday weekend deals and not exclusive to Cyber Monday. Also, there has been a big shift to brands introducing their Black Friday offers much earlier into the marketplace and via various channels (TV, radio, digital) vs. just on Thanksgiving via the newspaper. We also recognize and tap into the shift of the consumer being more mobile than ever before with new devices and ability to get answers within seconds by searches.”

I would say that digital is becoming an increasingly important part of the Black Friday weekend deals and not exclusive to cyber Monday.
Daisy Terrazas-Cole - Haworth
Daisy Terrazas-Cole, Planning and Multicultural Marketing Specialist at Haworth Marketing + Media.

To Haworth Media’s Terrazas, “Digital marketing in general is deviating from direct to site placement to a more efficient balance between content and facilitating the shopping experience to ultimately fulfill a purchase. We see a similar trend with the Hispanic audience and do what we can to be relevant to them in all digital environments.” Terrazas emphasizes that technically consumers are always online (there is truly no offline) based on consumers’ desire to constantly be connected in particular via mobile, “therefore our approach is to continue to be present and relevant where the consumer is.”

Several research firms recently issues reports claiming 0that up to 50% of all retail transactions from Black Friday to Cyber Monday will be made from mobile phones and tablets this years.

Offline and Social

Sprint’s Kymber Umana understands that each touch point is part of an integrated campaign: both online and offline. “We create holistic, integrated campaigns which include all consumer touch points and mediums to reach the consumer multiple times throughout the day. “Social is a natural part of our strategic focus and holistic consumer engagement plan. We ensure that our customers are up-to-date with our latest Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals through our various social media platforms during the holidays.”

For Terrazas’ clients, “social continues to be a prominent touch point for reaching the Hispanic audience efficiently and directly. Social will engage consumers with a spectrum of relevant messages from entertainment to deals. Ultimately, the general objective for both is to drive sales across all areas, digital as well as bricks and mortar.”

Immediate Feedback

kymber
Kymber Umana, Hispanic Marketing Manager at Sprint

The increase use of consumers of digital touch points can help fine tune marketing processes with trial and error: Says Umana: “During Black Friday/Cyber Monday, we will have more immediate feedback on our marketing’s performance, due to the digital nature of it.”

What: The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that 5.1 million less consumers were out shopping on Black Friday compared to the same day in 2013. The NRF also expects a decrease in shoppers during today’s Cyber Monday. Overall the NRF expects a 4.1% increase in sales throughout the Holiday Shopping Season Nov. 1- Dec 31.
Why it Matters: November and December are the strongest months for retail sales. From 1992 to 2013, December retail sales averaged 23% higher than the rate from January through October. November averaged 4% higher.Two things are certain: More people are shopping online, and the holiday deals (in stores and online) are less concentrated on the one four-day weekend than they used to be.

Black Friday shoppers in AtlantaThe National Retail Federation, which tracks customer visits to stores as well as sales, reported that 5.1 million fewer people were out shopping on Black Friday than last year. That was a decline of about 7%. On Thanksgiving Day itself, when many of the largest retailers opened with doorbuster deals between 6 a.m and 8 p.m., the retail group found that around 1.8 million fewer shoppers went out than last year. Overall, traffic was also down over the long weekend: About 5% fewer shoppers visited stores from Thanksgiving through Sunday.

The NRF gets its numbers from a survey of about 4,600 Americans.

Cyber Monday

According to the National Retail Federation’s Cyber Monday Expectations Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics over the weekend, 126.9 million (52.3%) shoppers plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, down slightly from the 131.6 million who planned to participate last year.

“For today’s shopper, every day is ‘Cyber Monday,’ and consumers want and expect great deals, especially online, throughout the entire holiday season – and they know retailers will deliver,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

VIERNES NEGRO EN SANTO DOMINGOAs a result, stores are bracing for “a marathon not a sprint,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the retail federation. This is why the decrease in “Black Friday” and the expected decrease in “Cyber Monday” shopping, Shay stood by his organization’s prediction of a 4.1% increase in holiday spending over the whole season, which began on November 1 and runs through the end of December.

“Retailers will still offer unique deals exclusive to Cyber Monday, but consumers also know shopping on Cyber Monday won’t be their last chance to find low prices and exclusive promotions.”

Consumers know shopping on Cyber Monday won’t be their last chance to find low prices and exclusive promotions.

Almost two thirds of Retailers invested in their Mobile Sites

When asked how they plan to shop on Cyber Monday, 24.5 million (19.3%) said they will use their mobile device, and eight in 10 (84.5%) will use their home computers to shop online. Mobile retailing remains important as consumers increasingly rely on their smartphones and tablets to research and purchase products. And, retailers are eager to meet consumer demand from these savvy customers as nearly seven in 10 (69.1%) retailers polled in Shop.org’s July eHoliday survey said they invested in optimizing their mobile websites prior to the holiday season, up from the 57.4 percent who said so last year.

Additionally, the latest Shop.org’s eHoliday survey found that 97.6 percent of online retailers polled say they will offer specific Cyber Monday deals.