NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday kickoff of the US holiday shopping season showed the increasing preference for online purchases, as more Americans opted to stay home and use their smartphones while sales and traffic at brick-and-mortar stores declined.
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The ongoing shift to online shopping has forced retailers across the country to invest heavily in boosting their e-commerce businesses, and also highlights the impact of early holiday promotions and year-round deals on consumer spending.
The weekend also redefined the importance of Black Friday. For the past few years, Black Friday was believed to be waning in importance, but it is now turning into a day when shoppers do not necessarily flock to stores but spend heavily online.
Bill Park, a partner at Deloitte & Touche LP, said online sales are starting to complement in-store shopping over the weekend, and for shoppers and retailers the two platforms are starting to converge.
Online sales rose more than 23 percent, crossing $6 billion on Black Friday, according to data from Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions at 80 of the top 100 US retailers. On Thanksgiving, it estimated sales grew 28 percent to $3.7 billion.
Preliminary data from analytics firm RetailNext showed net sales at brick-and-mortar stores fell 4 to 7 percent over the two days, while traffic fell 5 to 9 percent, continuing the trend of recent years. No data was yet available for actual spending in stores.
The decrease in store foot traffic is a little greater than it has been in years past, though still within expectations, RetailNext spokesperson Ray Hartjen said.
Brian Field, senior director of advisory services at ShopperTrak, said online sales have eroded traffic from retailers over the years.