Black Friday sales numbers look weak

There are always a lot of early reports on Christmas shopping that contradict each other, so let’s see what they say next week.

Maybe the early shoppers are just holding out for better deals.

Stay tuned

Holiday shopping via Shutterstock

There were more shoppers in the nation’s malls and big-box stores on Black Friday than there were last year, according to a report issued Saturday. But retailers still aren’t sure that starting the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving night proved successful.

ShopperTrak, which measures and analyzes foot traffic at more than 50,000 retail locations nationwide, says Black Friday store visits climbed 3.5% from last year to more than 307.67 million.

But Black Friday retail sales fell 1.8% to $11.2 billion, the firm said.

Having said that, Black Friday online sales topped $1 billion for the first time ever.  From Reuters:

Online sales jumped at least 22 percent on Black Friday – from sales of $816 million on the same day last year, according to comScore data.

E-commerce accounts for less than 10 percent of consumer spending in the United States. However, it is growing much faster than bricks-and-mortar retail as shoppers are lured by low prices, convenience, faster shipping and wide selection.

NOTE FROM JOHN: It’s hard to image that e-commerce is only ten percent of consumer spending.  Then again, it depends how you count it.  I don’t buy my groceries online.  But most everything else, I do.  It’s just easier, living in a city without a car, to shop online.  Also, it’s far cheaper, I find, buying things on Amazon than anywhere else.  Then again, these are online “retail” sales they’re talking about, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t include food.

I’d have to do the math, but I’d be hard-pressed to show that I spend more offline than I do online.  How about you?

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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