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Black Friday and Cyber Monday, by the numbers
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

As expected, early tallies are showing that Americans broke spending records across the board over the Thanksgiving weekend, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales exceeding industry analysts’ best estimates.

That said, when digging into the data, it paints a somewhat mixed picture for the industry at large, as where and how consumers spent this past weekend marked an interesting shift from historical trends.

For instance, while Black Friday shoppers spent a record $7.4 billion this year – a 20 percent jump from last year – brick-and-mortar store sales dropped 6.2 percent compared to Black Friday 2018.

On the flipside, spending on the actual Thanksgiving holiday jumped 14.5 percent this year to $4.2 billion, with in-store foot traffic growing 2.3 percent from 2018. While this doesn’t necessarily make up for the dip in sales physical retailers felt on Black Friday, the jump shows that buyers aren’t as constrained to traditional shopping calendars or methods of buying as they were in the past – thanks in large part to the rise of omnichannel shopping.

Savvy shoppers may have sought out deals online before taking advantage of perceived low in-store foot traffic on Thanksgiving to hop on savings early, for instance, demonstrating how one avenue for shopping might feed into another.

Another clear shift from historical norms is that Cyber Monday now dominates the entire holiday shopping season, as Adobe estimates that spending spiked roughly 17 percent over last year to an estimated $9.4 billion, with Amazon officially declaring Monday it’s highest-ever sales period in the company’s two-decade-plus existence.

That’s not to say that it’s game over for brick-and-mortar. In a recent interview discussing the holiday shopping season, Salesforce VP of strategy and insights for consumer goods Rob Garf predicted that “83 percent of shoppers plan to go to a physical store” this year. And even if customers aren’t visiting stores with the explicit intent of making a purchase, there are a lot of opportunities for retailers to capitalize on their physical locations.

When customers come to make returns, for instance, as many as two-thirds will make an additional purchase when they go to return an item. Considering many shoppers are prone to purchase online and return at a physical storefront, this presents a perfect example of the omnichannel experience in motion, where multiple touch points present an opportunity to make a sale.

At the end of the season, the brands that succeed will inevitably be those that tie all of their shopping channels – both physical and virtual – seamlessly together, allowing them to reach buyers wherever and however they choose to shop. But during high-stakes holiday shopping periods, stores need visibility across their entire network footprint – from the branch outlet to the warehouse to the platform hosting the company’s online store – to ensure that performance hiccups impacting one channel don’t proliferate and shut down the entire retail operation.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: retail networks, enterprise network monitoring, network monitoring, holiday shopping, brick and mortar, online store, ecommerce, online shopping, retail transformation, digital transformation, retain, cyber monday, black friday

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