Black Friday 2017: 6 Big Retail Trends You Need to Know Now

black friday shopping thanksgiving
Shoppers line up at a department store on Thanksgiving Day.
Rex Shutterstock

The biggest shopping weekend of the year starts tomorrow. While this is an exciting time for deal-seeking consumers, for the retailers that have spent the past few months struggling to lure in tepid shoppers the next four days could be critical.

Here are the most important statistics shoppers and retailers need to know about Thanksgiving weekend:

1. The Size of the Pie 

While there isn’t a reliable revenue projection for the four-day weekend alone, the National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales in November and December to increase 3.6 percent to 4 percent, to $678.75 billion to $682 billion, representing a rise from last year’s $655.8 billion. A huge chunk of the sales are expected to roll in during the Black Friday rush.

2. Sizing Up the Sales

Thomson Reuters, which collaborated with StyleSage Co. on a research report, said the discount for Black Friday merchandise this year will be 37.3 percent on average. Discounts have been available at this level for months, however. All in all, about 60 percent of the merchandise at mid-value stores will be on sale this year, compared with last year, which could further hurt some retailers’ profits, Thomson Reuters suggested.

3.  Counting the Shoppers 

Sixty-nine percent of the Americans surveyed by the National Retail Foundation said they plan to shop or are considering doing so over Thanksgiving weekend. Of those considering shopping this weekend, 20 percent said they planned to spend their dollars on Thanksgiving Day, but Black Friday is expected to be the busiest day with 70 percent intending to make purchases then. About 43 percent of those surveyed anticipated doing shopping on Saturday, with 76 percent of them saying this will be to support Small Business Saturday. And Sunday is when 21 percent of the respondents said they intend to shop, and 48 percent of those surveyed said they are planning to participate in Cyber Monday.

4. What Consumers Will Buy

Research by online cashback shopping platform Ebates has projected that the No. 1 item Americans will purchase on Black Friday is clothing. Thirty-nine percent of the adults and 49 percent of the teens surveyed reported that clothing will be their No. 1 pick. Other popular items included TVs, toys, laptops and smartphones.

5. Expected Spending

Those surveyed in a pre-Thanksgiving poll conducted by Deloitte said they plan to spend on average $427 between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, which is higher than the $400 indicated in last year’s survey.

6. The Biggest Bettors on Black Friday Revenue

According to a report by Thomson Reuters, of all the retailers, department stores might be relying the most on Black Friday to help them match or exceed their quarterly estimates.