2024 Global Digital Shopping index

Black Friday Becomes Bleak Friday for Some Retailers

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So far, this year’s holiday has been one of superlatives.

Record online spending on Black Friday. Record Cyber Monday sales. The most people ever to shop during Thanksgiving weekend.

But despite all this fanfare, Black Friday ended up being a disappointment for a number of retailers that depend on that day, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday (Nov. 29).

According to that report, the median drop in Black Friday sales was 4% for a collection of 40 retailers that take in a larger percentage of year-to-date sales during the holiday when compared to their peers. It was, the report said, a sharper drop than last year.

Bloomberg says Black Friday accounted for more five times an average day’s worth of U.S. direct-to-consumer sales to date, per the median estimate for the group it studied. That’s the highest level since 2019, which means these retailers are depending more on this one shopping day even as the percentage of bargain hunters they’re attracting has fallen.

Black Friday spending online rose this year, which could suggest that shoppers are moving from brick-and-mortar stores to eCommerce.

And some stores did well: Walmart and T.J. Maxx, for example. And Amazon saw its Black Friday sales rise 12%.

But for most other retailers Bloomberg studied, spending on Black Friday dropped, in some cases by double digits. This group includes Capri Holdings — owner of brands like Versace, Kors and Jimmy Choo — Best Buy and Express.

The report came one day after the National Retail Federation announced that Thanksgiving holiday weekend saw a record-breaking number of people go shopping.

Between Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, 200.4 million shoppers participated, exceeding last year’s record of 196.7 million, the NRF and Prosper Insights and Analytics said, noting this surpassed the NRF’s initial expectations by more than 18 million shoppers.

“Shoppers exceeded our expectations with a robust turnout,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “Retailers large and small were prepared to deliver safe, convenient and affordable shopping experiences with the products and services consumers needed, and at great prices.”

Meanwhile, recent PYMNTS Intelligence has found that many of these shoppers might have been spending less, even if they aren’t spending less on gifts.

Although consumers aim to spend 26% less on non-gift purchases this holiday season compared to last year, they still anticipate spending 2.2% more on gifts, according to “The Credit Economy: How Consumers are Approaching Holiday Spending and Travel,” a PYMNTS and i2c collaboration.