The Ti Blog: Brick and Mortar isn’t quite dead yet

Another hotly anticipated Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend has passed and analysts around the world are busy making sense of the spending bonanza. Some commentators are licking wounds after their predictions proved wildly inaccurate while others are revelling in this year’s shift in the festival of consumption.

But what actually happened? Well, with the traditional Black Friday shopping stampede commentators are often tempted by metaphors of the dust settling variety. In truth though this time around we didn’t have to wait long for that dust to settle and that was exactly the point, more than ever people stayed away from the traditional sales scrum and opted to peruse the sales online instead.

Looking at the stats coming out about Black Friday from ShopperTrak it would appear that US brick and mortar retails sales dropped by 10.34% to $10.4bn year-on-year. In contrast, according to Adobe, Black Friday e-commerce sales look to have grown by 14% to $2.72bn. Delving deeper into those e-commerce figures one of the more interesting developments is the increase in m-commerce which grew to a 34% share of online sales in 2015, with a particularly strong surge from smartphone sales which rose by 70%.

The figures for Cyber Monday further support this trend with 12% year-on-year growth bringing the total figure up to $2.98bn, a new record. So it’s clear that the growth in online sales on Black Friday is cannibalising in store sales rather than eating into Cyber Monday sales. It’s also clear that shoppers are enjoying the extra flexibility that shopping across the weekend brings.

This year has seen a concerted effort among retailers to attract more online sales with extensive email campaigns being run by most major retailers. We’ve also seen those retailers extend their offers so now sales last not just for one day or even the whole weekend but for the week following too. That’s right if you fear you’ve missed out on the best deals then don’t worry there is still time to snap up some bargains.

Evidently the retailers themselves haven’t missed the changing of consumer shopping preferences and this year they seem to have chosen to go along with the change of mood, in many ways facilitating the dramatic statistics that have come out over the last few days.

Overall the stats suggest that $11bn was spent online in the US over the five days of Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, this contrasts with a total of $12.1bn spent in store over Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday alone, traditional retail still has the edge. Taking a wider view of consumer spending over the holiday season some analysts are predicting that only $1 in every $7 spent this year will be spent online. So it seems that retail isn’t quite dead yet and there will be festive dust clouds settling around this time for years yet, they will just be getting a little smaller that’s all.