holiday shopper browses the electronics section
against a backdrop of televisions at a Target store
Friday in Newport, Ky.
- Black Friday shopping is shifting from hours spent in
line to more time online.
retail stores on Black Friday fell to $10.4 billion this
year, down from $11.6 billion in 2014, according to
preliminary figures from research firm ShopperTrak.
on Thanksgiving dropped to $1.8 billion from just over $2
billion. ShopperTrak has 1,200 members, including
retailers and malls, in the U.S and overseas. Their
figures don't include e-commerce.
reason for the declines is increased online shopping, as
Americans hunt down deals on their smartphones, tablets
and computers. Another key factor: Many retailers are
offering bargains long before Thanksgiving, limiting the
impact of Black Friday specials.
most analysts expect this year's holiday sales to show
stronger growth than last year's. Americans are starting
to see early signs of pay increases, hiring has been solid
in the past year, and low gas prices are leaving more
money in shoppers' pockets.
a lot of strength in the consumer," said Bill Martin,
co-founder of ShopperTrak. Even with the slip in sales,
"Black Friday will end up being the number one sales
day in retail this year."
Spencer and her daughter Jasmine Hansen were enthusiastic
participants in Black Friday shopping this year. They left
Spencer's home at 4 a.m. Friday and were at Cabela's, a
hunting and outdoor equipment store, in Kansas City,
Kansas, an hour later.
was a very long line, a few tents and a lot of lawn
chairs," Spencer said. "They posted signs saying
you can't have a fire."
said she spent a little more than normal this year.
"I feel the economy has picked up in a few areas, and
I felt the pull of the holiday spirit," she said.
retailers have been bombarding customers with email
discounts for weeks. Online sales jumped 14.3 percent on
Friday compared with last year, according to Adobe, which
tracked activity on 4,500 retail websites. Email
promotions drove 25 percent more sales compared with 2014,
the company said.
Christopher, director of consumer economics at consulting
firm IHS, predicts that holiday season e-commerce sales
will jump 11.7 percent this year to about $95 billion, up
from last year's 10.9 percent gain. IHS considers the
holiday shopping season to include both November and
much larger increase than the 3.5 percent gain Christopher
forecasts for total holiday retail sales, including both
online and in traditional retail stores. Overall, about $1
in every $7 in holiday shopping sales will occur online
this year, IHS predicts.
have also started offering deep discounts as early as
Halloween, even advertising them as "Black
Friday" deals, Martin said. Auto dealers have gotten
in on the game and are offering "Black Friday"
have shifted and started earlier," Martin added.
Americans are doing more of their holiday shopping in
November, he said, a decade-long trend, even though
December remains the month in which consumers spend the
toward earlier discounts was intensified this year because
many retailers struggled with overstocked warehouses and
store shelves heading into the fall, Christopher said.
That prompted many to offer deep discounts as early as the
beginning of this month.
price discounting has been creeping toward
Halloween," he said.
are even starting to postpone some of their back-to-school
purchases until later in the fall, in anticipation of such
deals, Christopher said.