business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNN reports that Black Friday online sales reached a record $7.4 billion, in addition to $4.2 billion in online sales generated on Thanksgiving Day. The story says that "Friday was also the biggest day ever for mobile sales, as $2.9 billion came from smartphones."

The story says that "Black Friday brick-and-mortar sales were up 4.2%, with the greatest increase over normal shopping activity seen across electronics and appliances, sporting goods, and clothing and shoes, according to data compiled by Fiserv."

Reuters reports that "for the first time in several years … store traffic on Thanksgiving evening grew - indicating a shift in when consumers are leaving their homes to shop. It is also a sign of how Thursday evening store openings have continued to hurt what has traditionally been a day that kicked off the U.S. holiday season … Numbers from ShopperTrak, which is part of retail data firm Sensormatic Solutions, showed that visits to stores fell a combined 3% during Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared with the same days in 2018.

"Shopper traffic on Thanksgiving evening increased by 2.3%year-over-year but was dragged down by Black Friday, which fell 6.2% from a year ago."

CNN goes on to say that "the shopping sprees are far from over with Cyber Monday poised to be even bigger. Adobe is projecting $9.4 billion in online sales. It anticipates that the last few hours of Cyber Monday will attract a lot of sales from people unwilling to miss out on deals."

Reuters notes that "the National Retail Federation had forecast U.S. holiday retail sales over the two months in 2019 will increase between 3.8% and 4.2% from a year ago, for a total of $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion. That compares with an average annual increase of 3.7% over the past five years."
KC's View:
Some of the numbers are going to vary, in part because different organizations measure things differently, and in part because different organizations have different biases in their metrics.

This year has a shorter shopping season because Thanksgiving came so late, so the numbers will be a little skewed.

But it seems pretty clear already that the shift from bricks-and-mortar to online shopping will continue. The question is whether this will put companies that have not adjusted their expectations and infrastructures sufficiently in any sort of existential peril.

My guess is yes.