What Really Happened On Black Friday (By The Numbers)

The official kick-off the holiday shopping season, Thanksgiving,  Black Friday (and Small Business Saturday, and “Needs A Marketing Guru To Name It” Sunday represent what is expected to be the four biggest shopping holidays of the U.S. retail calendar year.

And with great expectations comes great spin, tons of numbers and very little context. Was it a good year? Was it especially good for some?  Bad for others? Confused?  Still slightly drowsy from the turkey? Bummed that your favorite football team lost? It’s okay, PYMNTS, as always, has you covered with all the necessary numbers to help you break down Black Friday (and the Thanksgiving Shopping Weekend) this year.

$50.9 Billion |  The Total Amount Retailers Took In During The 2014 Shopping Holiday

Uh oh. The holiday shopping season got off to a slower start this weekend that it did in 2013. Total spending of $50.9 billion over the four day Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Foundation was down 11 percent from $57.4 billion in 2013 and marks the second year of sales declines during Black Friday weekend.

“Though much shopping has been done by this point, it’s important to remember that there are still many weeks left in the holiday season, and savvy shoppers will continue to look for exclusive prices to purchase holiday gifts,” said one retail pundit. “As competition for customer dollars heats up, consumers will be the ultimate winners in the end. Shoppers this year have made it clear that they no longer only value deep discounts on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, they want the entire package from beginning to end.”

500 Million | The Number Of Pageviews On Walmart’s Website During Black Friday

Black Friday 2014 saw Walmart achieve its second best results online ever, trailing only 2013’s Cyber-Monday traffic.  The world’s biggest retailer also reports that it had more than 22 million customers at its stores between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday, compared with 10 million last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. (That’s million, with an M.)

Target reported that Thursday (Thanksgiving) was its biggest online sales day ever.

“What I’ve been most interested in is what’s in the (customer) basket. You look at the people who you know came out for a specific, but then they’ve actually taken the time to shop other categories, which is really important. The fear here is seeing baskets or carts with one item,” said Target’s CEO Brian Cornell while touring a Target location Thursday.

133.7 Million | Total Number Of Shoppers During The Holiday Weekend

Sounds like a big number, doesn’t it?  Well, it is, it’s just not as big as it was last year (which was also down.) Last year saw 141.1 million hitting the shops on and offline. Total shopping, including multiple trips by the same shopper, was also down this weekend to 233 million from 248.6 million in 2013.

“A strengthening economy that changes consumers’ reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We are excited to be witnessing an evolutionary change in holiday shopping by both consumers and retailers, and expect this trend to continue in the years ahead.”

Lemons out of lemonade.

86.9 Million |  The Number Of People Who Shopped In-Store And Online During Black Friday

That sounds like a big number too, however, Thanksgiving managed to peel off some of those Black Friday shoppers with nearly one third  (~43.1 million) saying they shopped on Thanksgiving Day. That’s about the same percent as last year, in spite of several stores opening earlier.

Of those who shopped on Saturday, about three-quarters said they did or planned to shop specifically for Small Business Saturday.

67.8 Million |  The Number Of People Who Shopped (Or Planned To Shop) In Department Stores Over The Holiday Weekend

Department stores had a strong weekend with over half of all consumers shopping in them this weekend.  According to IBM, the weekend was also good for online sales at major department stores, with Black Friday online sales at such retailers growing by 22.9 percent over 2013.  Mobile sales grew by  25.7 percent.

Discount stores also made a strong showing with consumers over the holiday weekend, too, with over one-third (34 percent) noting a specific intention to shop at one, according to the NRF.

22 Thousand |  The Number Of Twitter Conversations Consumers Had About Kohl’s On Black Friday

It was apparently the most social Black Friday ever, according to social marketing software company Spredfast, as conversations about the year’s biggest shopping day have more than doubled year-over-year.

So what brands was everyone discussing this year?

Data gathered by Salesforce suggests Kohl’s led the pack with its 22K discussions, followed by Walmart (8.8K discussions), Microsoft’s XBox (6.5K), Amazon ( 6.2 K) and Apple (6.2K).

Kohl’s did have those clever commercials.

$129.37 | The Average Online Order Online On Black Friday

Consumers were spending just under $130 per transactions on Black Friday this year, according to the NRF. Those consumers spent slightly more when they were pursuing their shopping addiction online, according to the IBM holiday weekend data. But even that was mixed.  IBM reported that average order value was $143.16, a decrease of 2.5 percent year-over-year.

90 |  The Number Of Minutes Consumers Had To Wait To Use Best Buy Online

Well it all can’t go smoothly all of the time. Wide-interest, especially a rapid upswing in mobile use, crashed Best Buy’s website on Black Friday for about 90 minutes.

“A concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues that led us to shut down in order to take proactive measures to restore full performance,” the company said.

Apparently consumers who tried to access the Best Buy site between 10 am and 11:30 am, saw a message that said “We’re sorry. is currently unavailable. Check back soon.” The mobile site also appeared to have been affected during that time.

That’s nothing. Luxury fashion e-tailer, Net-A-Porter was down for nearly 2 days as notice of its Black Friday sale slipped out and fashionistas in search of a bargain, beat a path to its virtual storefront. Only to find it closed.

52.2 | The Percentage Of Online Traffic On Thanksgiving From Mobile

It was a milestone year for the mobile internet, as the number of consumers accessing retailer websites flipped from the desktop to the mobile device for the first time in 2014, according to the IBM data.

The study also confirmed what we’ve been hearing for a while now: “smartphones browse, but tablets buy.” Yes, it’s official. Tablets continue to win the mobile shopping war – driving 16 percent of online sales compared to 11.8 percent for smartphones, Tablet users also spend more when they shop,  dropping $126.50 per order compared to $107.55 for smartphone users.

43.3 | The Percentage Increase PayPal Observed In Mobile Shopping During The Holiday Weekend

The shopping season is off to a strong start for PayPal, as the online payments pioneer reports a  56 percent increase in global mobile payment volume over last year. That also includes a 43 percent uptick in total mobile shoppers for Thanksgiving 2014.

Though a strong rate, it pales in comparison to the 91 percent uptick PayPal reported a year ago.

“I think it speaks to the widening of the holiday shopping net or the holiday creep,” PayPal’s head of global consumer initiatives, Pablo Rodriguez, told Venture Beat.

34.2 | The Percentage Of Mobile Traffic From iOS Over The Weekend

Apple’s iOS-based iPhone and iPad yielded way more activity than Android devices, more than 34 percent to Android’s just over 16 percent, with iOS accounting for about 25 percent of all sales. Android only 7 percent.

However, there is some good news in Android commerce-land. Average spend on iPhones and iPads is roughly$118, only $23 more than the average spend on an Android.

17 | The Percentage More Consumers Spent On Desktops Over Mobile

Desktop computer sales may be giving way to tablets and smartphones, but according to IBM’s data, online shoppers spent more money using their personal computers than mobile devices on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Online shoppers spent an average of $135.33 with their PCs on Thursday and Friday, versus $116.02 for those using tablets and smartphones.

“There’s a lot of fanfare around mobile, but desktops are still the workhorses of e-commerce,” says Jay Henderson, director of IBM Smarter Commerce. Desktops accounted for 51.4% of traffic on Black Friday. But for the first time ever, mobile traffic (52%) outpaced PCs on Thanksgiving, and Henderson expects Black Friday mobile traffic to finally overtake PCs next year.

2 | The Number Of Women Arrested In California For Fighting Over A Barbie Doll

Not much more to be said than that. Two women in California were arrested for disturbing the peace after reportedly brawling publicly over a Barbie Doll.  Both women were detained and eventually arrested, though both were later released without charges being filed.  It is unclear who eventually got the doll.

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