Black Friday used to be the day people flooded to the shops to work off a bit of Thanksgiving turkey and emerge laden with bargains.
It looks like those extra pounds will need to be shifted in some other way as people stayed on their couches shopping from their smartphones this year.
RetailNext, a retail analyst, reports that net sales at physical stores fell 4-7% over Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Footfall dropped by 5-9 percent.
This is not a new phenomenon, but it does appear to be accelerating. In 2017, brick-and-mortar sales were down 8.9% for the same two days and shopper traffic fell 4.4%. Sales and footfall to stores was also down more than 4% in 2016.
Research firm ShopperTrak has also compiled an early report showing that visits to stores fell by 1% across Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared with 2017.
Brian Field, senior director of advisory services at ShopperTrak tells Reuters that the trend towards shopping more online is continuing, but the buoyant economy and strong consumer confidence has caused the decline of in-store sales to slow. “What we have noticed is that the decline is starting to flatten out … Overall its been consistent with where it’s been over the last few years.”
“This decline feels pretty good to me. I think retail is in for a good season,” Mr Field adds.
Ahead of the holiday season kick-off, Adobe Analytics was predicting a sales rise of 16.5% on Thanksgiving, 17.2% on Black Friday and 17.6% on Cyber Monday.
The researcher reported over the weekend that online sales rose more than 23% on Black Friday.