Black Friday event website in Germany
Black Friday event website in Germany
 

05 Dec. 2013

Holiday Shopper Numbers Up, Spending Down

There were more of them out there but they are spending less this year. That is the conclusion of the National Retail Federation, US-based retail trade organization, in regards to shopping habits over the long Thanksgiving weekend, which included so-called Black Friday, the traditional kickoff to consumers’ Christmas rush.

A study released by the group says that 141 million unique shoppers shopped in the US over the weekend, or 2 million more than last years’ 139 million. In addition, more than 92 million (65.2%) shopped on Black Friday, an increase of the 89 million in 2012.

However, despite the spike in people, individual spending is down. The study found that shoppers spent an average of $407.02 over the weekend versus the $423.55 they spent last year.

Total overall spending for the weekend was estimated to be $57.4 billion, or about $1.7 billion less than 2012.

Things were similar on so-called Cyber Monday. According to a study released by IBM, it was the biggest online shopping day in US history, with a 20.6% increase in sales compared to last year. However, individual online consumers also spent less. The average order value was $128.77, a decrease of 1% from 2012.

For apparel specifically, Cyber Monday total online sales grew by 22.5% compared to last year, with mobile sales growing by 58.3% year-over-year. Average order value was $102.83, a decrease of 6.9% year-over-year.

The National Retail Federation believes that in the end, overall holiday spending in the US will be $602 billion, a 3.9% increase from last year.

Several stores debuted with Black Friday last week. In Germany, the website www.blackfridaysale.de announced over 500 online shops would reduce their prices up to 90% for 24 hours. Galeria Kaufhof, Karstadt, Deichmann, Runners Point and Fashion ID were all special partners for the event. Online shops such as Asos, Zalando and Dress-for-less were also part of the show. 

All in all the shops involved in the event are confident with the result. Munich-based organizer Black Friday GmbH announced over 1.2 million users were online, registering double click-rates for many shops. More than 80,000 users visited Asos for example, 65,000 were counted at Dress-for-less. The conversion rate was up to 15% and several shops were able to triple their average sales. Michael Lindskog, Regional Manager Zalando, Northern Europe: "Zalando tested Black Friday in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the UK. We offered either Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotions in several countries that we operate in. Overall we are very pleased with the outcome of these events both from a sales perspective, as well as being able to introduce new customers to the benefits of doing their holiday season shopping online." However, not all participating shops were well prepared for the stampede of visitors; some web-stores had problems including long timeouts, temporary deactivation and the total shutdown of some sites.

Laura Ebert, Senior Online Marketing Manager (SEM) of Dress-for-less stated: “The results in terms of visits and sales exceeded all expectations. I think we’ll take part in Black Friday next year. The numbers showed the big interest of consumer on this special event and of course we want to fulfil this interest and take the chance to introduce dress-for-less to new customers. This year some things went wrong in the realization. But we have learned and will avoid them next time”.

Michael Lindskog, Regional Manager Zalando, Northern Europe: "Zalando tests Black Friday in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the UK. We offered either Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotions in several countries that we operate in. Overall we are very pleased with the outcome of these events both from a sales perspective, as well as being able to introduce new customers to the benefits of doing their holiday season shopping online."

All in all the shops involved in the event are confident with the result, even though detailed numbers are still missing at this point.


Nevertheles, it’s certain that some shops were not well prepared for the stampede of visitors. As a result web shops had problems with long timeouts and the temporary deactivation of some sites.

Retailer reactions:

Elizabeth Sontag, owner Elison Road, Seal Beach & Long Beach, California:
“This weekend was really good for us. Black Friday was good but, really, we have what we call 'Small Business Saturday' with discounts that really excited people. We ran ads on our Facebook and Instagram pages and then did an informal survey to confirm that shoppers had seen the ads. Turns out those were really successful."

Greg Armas, owner Assembly New York:
“Though we may not be much of a market index as our collections and clientele are so specialized, our Black Friday was successful  but not overwhelming. Foot traffic was slightly accelerated though the active shopper attitude is phenomenal–people want to find special things this season, not just check names of a list!”

Susan Boyle, owner, Rime, New York City
“Black Friday weekend was weird this year–since Thanksgiving was so late we all lost that extra week of selling. Seemed like it pushed so many retailers to actually sell on Thanksgiving and the sales start earlier and earlier. For Rime our business was strong on Black Friday weekend we had a few strong sneaker releases such as Nike Safari foams and the Reebok Shaq Attaq. It also felt like the holidays here in NYC since it finally got really cold and that pushed our outwear sales. Cyber Monday was good for us since we started our pre-order for our Puma x Rime Lux Wedges. It seemed that people were sale-driven or item-driven this year."

Christopher Blomquist, Melanie Gropler, Maria Cristina Pavarini

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