Black Friday & Cyber Monday Prove Retail’s Revolution Will Be Digitized

Black friday shoppers
Black Friday shoppers in Manhattan.
Rex Shutterstock

The verdict is in: Retail’s revolution will be digitized.

Early reads of Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales results across retail evidence the ongoing consumer shift to online shopping. According to data from Adobe Analytics, which tracks the 100 largest online stores, U.S. retailers generated a record $7.9 billion in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, an 18 percent gain over the prior year.

To boot: Today’s Cyber Monday rush could be another record breaker, forecast to generate $6.6 billion in sales, according to Adobe.

While brick-and-mortar sales — which have been tepid in recent years amid the online shopping boom — have yet to come in, many traditional sellers placed significant efforts behind their omnichannel strategy to tap into the digital momentum. Retailers such as Walmart and Target notably optimized their online pickup features — making it more convenient for shoppers to make the most of both sides of the business — while department stores such as Nordstrom and Macy’s touted online deals in addition to in-store specials.

Still, retail sales-tracking company ShopperTrak found that shopper visits on Black Friday and Thanksgiving slipped a combined 1.6 percent when compared with the same days in 2016. Brian Field, senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak, said the modest brick-and-mortar decline is actually proof that physical stores are still a viable part of retail.

“There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail, and the fact that shopper visits remained intact on Black Friday illustrates that physical retail is still highly relevant, and when done right, it is profitable,” Field said.

Looking ahead, ShopperTrack’s data indicates that eight of the 10 anticipated busiest shopping days still remain, including Super Saturday, which will fall on Dec. 23. Saturday, Dec. 16 is expected to be the third-busiest day of the season, behind Super Saturday and Black Friday, which is No. 1.

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