Black Friday: trading crowds for couches

Black Friday: trading crowds for couches

December 4, 2015

On Black Friday 2015, more people went shopping online than in actual retail stores.

It seems the tradition of waiting in long lines until midnight has fallen to the wayside as more individuals choose to snag Black Friday deals online.

How many people and how much money

According to the National Retail Federation, 151 million people made online or in-person purchases over the long Thanksgiving weekend. It’s estimated that about 102 million individuals shopped in stores and over 103 million people shopped online, with each person spending an average of $229.60.

Online Shopping

CNET reported that Thanksgiving Day sales were about $1.1 billion, up 9% from 2014. Spending continued to increase on Black Friday, reaching $1.6 billion, a 10% lift from last year. The slight increase in revenue on Black Friday is reflected in the amount of online shoppers. On Thanksgiving, 41 million people shopped online, while this number rose to 75.3 million on Black Friday.

What may be even more interesting is that The Wall Street Journal stated, “According to data from International Business Machines Corp., mobile devices accounted for about 57% of all online shopping traffic, up 15% since the same period last year, and the first time mobile traffic has exceeded desktop traffic on Black Friday.”

Now that anyone with a smartphone can make quick purchases no matter where they are, more shopping is being done on mobile devices. After all, it’s much easier to browse your favorite retailers’ websites while sitting on the couch watching football or traveling home after visiting family than it is to make the trek to the brick and mortar store.

Why the way we shop is changing

It may be obvious that the main reason for the increase in online and mobile shopping is convenience. Retailers have adapted to this trend and changed how they market Black Friday deals, too. For example, Walmart and Target posted deals online first and were busy filling these orders before the stores even opened their doors.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) conducted a poll to determine specific reasons for why online shopping is increasing.

  • 85% of participants stated the top reason as wanting to avoid crowds
  • 79% claimed they wanted to save time
  • 78% said they thought they could find similar or better deals online
  • 57% cited that they liked the ability to shop outside of store hours

With optimized mobile sites, improved online ordering processes, increased email promotions, and the availability of similar deals, more people are choosing the online option and forgetting about the crowds, odd hours, and overall time commitment.

What will Black Friday 2016 bring?

According to ShopperTrak, retail store sales fell from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $10.4 billion in 2015. Next year, it can be expected that in-store sales will continue to decrease as online shopping increases. Seeing that people now prefer this method, companies may offer even more email promotions and online deals.

From before Black Friday to after Cyber Monday, we may be less exhausted from avoiding the chaos at the mall, but our phone, tablet, and laptop batteries are certainly more drained.