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James Hyerczyk
U.S. Retail Sales

U.S. retailers opened their doors to Black Friday shoppers by offering steep discounts, but that didn’t help their sales numbers with social distancing practices and other measures put in place to mitigate infection risks likely driving down traffic. The good news is e-commerce sales reached a new record.

Black Friday Shopping in Stores Craters 52%

CNBC reported over the weekend that traffic at stores on Black Friday fell by 52.1% compared with last year, as Americans by and large eschewed heading to malls and queuing up in lines for shopping online, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.

For the six key weeks of the holiday season this year, traffic in retail stores is expected to be down 22% to 25% year over year, an earlier forecast by Sensormatic Solutions said.

“We knew Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down,” said Brian Field, a senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions. “Shoppers are spreading out their shopping throughout the holiday season because of concerns about social distancing and the pandemic.”

Many malls looked bleak, and parking lots were more empty than full, across much of the country during the early hours of the morning Friday. Some reported traffic picking up later in the day, especially at outlet and open-air shopping centers, as some consumers felt more comfortable heading out. The warmer weather that blanketed much of the country also helped.

“Black Friday this year, from a traffic impact perspective, looked a lot like a typical Saturday after a Black Friday,” Field said.

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Black Friday 2020 Online Shopping Surges 22% to Record $9 Billion – Adobe Analytics

Spending online on Black Friday this year surged nearly 22% to hit a new record, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as the Covid pandemic pushed more people to shop from the sofa and avoid crowded stores and malls.

Consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year, according to Adobe, which analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.

On Black Friday, Adobe found consumers spent $6.3 million per minute online, or $27.50 per person, on average. Spending on smartphones surged 25.3% year over year to reach $3.6 billion, representing 40% of total e-commerce spending.

This makes Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in history in the United States, behind Cyber Monday last year.

Retail Stock Investors Looking Forward to Cyber Monday

Despite the slow traffic at the malls on Friday, traditional brick and mortar stores may have been saved by robust online buying and curbside pickups. However, the most popular online sellers like Amazon and Etsy should continue to outperform on Cyber Monday.

According to Adobe Analytics, Cyber Monday (November 30) this year is slated to become the largest digital sales day ever, with spending reaching between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, which would represent growth of 15% to 35% from a year earlier.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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