Which Days Will Make or Break Holiday 2017? Retail Can’t Rely on Tradition, Reports NPD

The top shopping days of the year are not what they used to be, especially in stores

Port Washington, NY, November 22, 2017 — The average amount spent per in-store buyer over Thanksgiving weekend 2016 was surpassed by online buyers on Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving Day, according to The NPD Group, a leading global information company. According to analysis from NPD’s Checkout, a receipt mining service, the traditional top holiday shopping days do not have the same value for brick-and-mortar retailers that they once did.

Overall, buyers visited stores less on Black Friday and Thanksgiving 2016 compared to the prior year, and spent less when they did. Black Friday retained its number one in-store shopping ranking on average spend per buyer in 2016, but Thanksgiving Day had a dramatic drop in command, from second place in 2015 to seventh in 2016. Late season shopping proved more beneficial to physical stores – NPD’s Checkout information shows that buyers spent about 12 percent more in stores on December 23, 2016 than they did on the same date in 2015.

“The in-store rush of crowds we typically associate with key holiday shopping days has become a thing of the past,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The novelty of Thanksgiving Day shopping has worn its welcome, and Black Friday is on its way to becoming more of an online shopping draw than Cyber Monday.”

Not only did shoppers spend more online on Black Friday in 2016 than they spent in stores, they spent more than they did the prior year, while online spend decreased slightly on Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving Day. Retail’s desire to capture consumer dollars has given consumers a bounty of promotions and shopping days to choose from, and Black Friday appears to be leading the race.

While the traditional top holiday shopping days may no longer be at the top for all categories, there are industries that were still dominated by Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday in 2016. During the holiday shopping season, Black Friday brought in the highest average apparel spend per buyer both in stores and online, and Thanksgiving won when it came to technology spending. Housewares buyers were less predictable in 2016 – in stores, the highest spend occurred on Thanksgiving, but Black Friday came out on top online. Despite these differences, the consistent trend across each of these industries was that online accounted for the highest average spend per buyer on both of the key shopping days.

“Each industry has its own sales cadence during holiday and it is critical to understand that the differences can make or break the season’s success,” added Cohen. “Whether stores open on Thanksgiving Day or not, retailers need to learn how to adjust to the new norm of holiday shopping, find ways to capture the consumer’s attention both before and after Thanksgiving, and compete amidst formidable distractions that occur beyond the holiday season, like Prime Day.”

Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – including  first and third-party sales for Amazon and other marketplaces, 400+ e-commerce retailers including direct-to-consumer, and  an early read on emerging players. Information is collected from more than 3 million consumers, through data provided by our partner Slice Intelligence and NPD’s own proprietary receipt-harvesting mobile phone app.

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