Retailers were not sure exactly what to expect this year during Black Friday sales. The coronavirus pandemic has caused merchants to expand Black Friday into a long weekend or to move doorbuster deals online to help avoid crowds of shoppers trying to pile into brick and mortar stores. Discounts are expected to continue to be offered throughout the weekend.
According to Adobe Analytics data, a new record was set on Black Friday sales this year – $9.0 billion, an increase of 21.6% year over year. As positive as that number is, an even bigger sales record is anticipated on Cyber Monday.
It was the second-largest online spending day in U.S. history, coming in behind Cyber Monday 2019. Adobe expects Cyber Monday 2020 to become the largest online sales day in history, with spending between $10.8 billion (15% year-over-year growth) and $12.7 billion (35% year over year growth).
The coronavirus pandemic is changing how Americans shop. Since Thanksgiving gatherings were recommended to be small, only household members asked to spend the holiday together, families weren’t heading out together to the mall to score some good deals after a big turkey dinner. Where retail stores are allowed to be open, social distancing and face mask mandates are in place. Store capacities have to be maintained, depending on local restrictions. People are shopping from home instead of shopping in-person. Traffic at brick and mortar stores is down 52.1% compared to last year’s numbers. A 22% to 25% decline in traffic in retail stores is expected during the six week holiday shopping period this year.
COVID-19 restrictions on family gathering drive sales: In states that put COVID-19 restrictions around family gatherings, there was 265% higher year-over-year growth in online shopping over the last two days compared to states with less restrictions.
“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 traditional 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,” said Taylor Schreiner, director, Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement.
Many shoppers are taking advantage of in-store and curbside pickups which increased 52% on Black Friday year over year. This allows shoppers to avoid in-store shopping. Small retail businesses report sales 545% higher on Black Friday when compared to an average day last month. That’s great news for small businesses, the hardest hit during coronavirus lockdowns.
“We knew Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down,” said Brian Field, a senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions. “Shoppers are spreading out their shopping throughout the holiday season because of concerns about social distancing and the pandemic.”
While shopping habits are changing due to the pandemic, some things never change. Greta Thunberg, the precocious climate change scold, posted her hot take on Black Friday on social media – don’t buy any stuff you don’t need. She says overconsumption is wrecking the planet.
School strike week 119. Today is black Friday. Overconsumption is wrecking present and future living conditions and the planet itself.
Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.#ClimateStrikeOnline #fridaysforfuture #schoolstrike4climate #flattenthecurve #FaceTheClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/rMr02n0vwT
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 27, 2020
There’s some normalcy for us this holiday weekend.