Thanksgiving Shopping Leads to 13% Drop in Black Friday Sales

Black Friday used to be the only day that attracted droves of customers seeking doorbusters and limited deals for the holidays. Well, not anymore. US retailers saw a 13.2 percent drop in Black Friday sales and an 11 percent drop in foot traffic compared to 2012, largely due to an influx of customers who shopped on Thanksgiving Day instead.

Despite the slide in sales on Black Friday, sales across Thanksgiving Day and Friday combined actually rose 2.3 percent to $12.3 billion according to retail research firm ShopperTrak. Furthermore, foot traffic on both days combined also increased 2.8 percent. This indicates that Thanksgiving openings took away sales from Black Friday, but customers were still willing to spend overall.

This new trend of spreading out Black Friday sales across two days is not surprising seeing that Thanksgiving Day became a target for several retailers looking to attract shoppers during a shorter holiday season this year. Not only are retailers grappling with a shorter season, but they also have to work harder to grab consumers' attention since 53 percent of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday gift giving this year than they did in 2012 according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

ShopperTrak reports that Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales were higher in all regions, with particularly strong results in the Western and Southern U.S. Sales in the Northeast slipped as the region dealt with a storm on Wednesday, and frigid temps with high winds the two days afterward.

In a seperate survey, the National Retail Federation reports that purchases at stores and websites fell 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion during the four days beginning with the Nov. 28 Thanksgiving holiday. While 141 million people shopped, about 2 million more than last year, the average consumer's spending dropped 3.9 percent to $407.02, the survey showed. 

Despite the big drop in sales, Black Friday is still the largest shopping day of the year so far.

For more see:
This Wall Street Journal article
This Associated Press article
This Bloomberg article

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