Black Friday US: Mobile, omnichannel win big

gap black friday 2015

Gap Inc offered deep discounts across its brands

Black Friday is now an online phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic – it’s official.

I’ve already analysed the move online at length in the UK but in the US, where Black Friday began (and where its existence makes a lot more sense), the migration to the web has taken some people by surprise this year.

New figures shows sales at American physical stores actually fell on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday while e-sales rose in double-digits.

E-sales tracked by Adobe Digital Index soared 18% to $4.47bn, smashing even the most optimistic expectations. Thanksgiving Day web traffic rose 22% while 60% of that traffic was via mobile. Overall, 37% of actual dollars laid out were spend on mobile devices.

walmart black friday

‘Dygical’ retailers like Walmart proved strong

The biggest names in web selling saw surging sales. Amazon’s sales are estimated to have been up by nearly 20% by noon on Friday while Google Shopping rose nearly 25%.

But on the whole, Adobe said retailers who have both physical and digital retail ops (so-called ‘dygical’ retailers like Walmart) did better online than pureplay web vendors. Omnichannel, it seems, was the biggest trend on the day.

Now don’t walk away with the idea that actual stores saw slow traffic or that they’ll be deserted come Black Friday 2020. Physical stores are still the biggest beneficiaries of Black Friday-linked spending.

Store traffic was heavy even though it weakened slightly. Analytics specialist RetailNext said physical store footfall was flat year-on-year while actual sales for Thursday and Friday fell 1.5% – which means spend per head must also have dipped. ShopperTrak’s early figures also suggested a sales dip to around $12.1bn for the two days.

But while both ShopperTrak and RetailNext said the performance at physical stores could still be seen as good (as sales didn’t fall too far in the face of e-competition), given that sales were disappointing this time last year, the comparisons don’t look that brilliant.

Analysts from the firms did concede that discounting earlier in November could have dented demand on Black Friday.

So what did people buy? Electronics, of course, and toys, unsurprisingly. Unfortunately, they didn’t buy into fashion as much as had been hoped, despite some deep discounts. I’m sure there’ll be some tales of woe come same-store sales release day next week.

3 thoughts on “Black Friday US: Mobile, omnichannel win big

  1. Yeah I think the UK is still pretty split over the whole idea of Black Friday. Anyone doing Christmas shopping or needing a new vacuum cleaner has obviously gone for it just as they would with any offer of discounts. But people don’t care whether it’s Black Friday or not…. and you must get that Cos dress, as long as you don’t wear it at the same time as me.


  2. I’m not sure that we have fully adopted Black Friday. It’s a little like Trick or Treating; depending where you are in life depends on how much notice we take of it. I took very little notice, I may have missed out on less than £100 worth of discount I could care less I don’t run my life around how much I can get off stuff and the ONLY thing I want right now is the Cos Silver Dress which was not discounted!


  3. Pingback: Fashion & Mash | Cyber Monday keeps top e-shopping title

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