While the numbers were certainly not low, U.S. brick and mortar stores saw a decline in sales on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, highlighting the trend that more and more shoppers are turning to shopping online.
Overall sales over Thanksgiving fell by 1.5% for consumer traffic, as well as a 1.4% decline in average spending per shopper. Analysts have issued preliminary data which indicates that on Thursday and Friday, total sales in stores around the U.S. came out at $12.1 billion, lower than the $12.29 billion brought in over the same days last year.
Some segments did better than others, with shoppers taking full advantage of big discounts in areas such as electronics and toys. However, despite equally enticing offers, clothing in particular struggled to achieve the expected number of sales.
The trend is hardly surprising, as more stores start their discounts earlier in the month and even keep their doors open during Thanksgiving. As a result, Black Friday is losing its position as the day that kickstarts the holiday shopping season. Additionally, as more people choose to do their shopping online, regular stores will have to find a way to attract shoppers again in the coming years to prevent the downward trend from continuing.
Online Sales Benefit
While brick and mortar stores saw declines, online retailers saw a major increase in sales. Online sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday totaled close to $4.47 billion, a jump of over 18 percent from last year and were significantly above the expected figure of $4.35 billion.
Also, many retailers who have both brick-and-mortar and online stores offered significantly better online deals during these key two days, achieving higher sales than retailers who have a strictly online presence. This was achieved despite that fact that the average discount offered by online stores was around 26 percent for Thanksgiving, and 24 percent for Black Friday, which is nearly identical to last year.