Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping continues online shift

The First Data SpendTrend report analyzing consumer spending on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday provides a clear message: Online sales are more important than ever.

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The report showed that online sales as a portion of total spend has grown steadily in recent years — from 13.6 percent in 2013 to 18.3 percent in 2015 — indicating an ongoing shift from brick-and-mortar shopping to e-commerce, the processor said.

First Data compiled the year-over-year review using sales figures for more than 820,000 of its merchant locations across all U.S. states.

And this year’s numbers showed that, instead of rushing to stand in line at their favorite big-box retailer, shoppers were getting online from the comfort of their own homes.

Online sales grew 14.3 percent overall (all figures year over year). E-commerce transactions grew 19.8 percent on Thanksgiving Day (soaring past 40 percent at 5 a.m.), and 12.1 percent on Black Friday.

At stores, business was brisk early on Thanksgiving morning, as sales grew 8.2 percent for the day. But after 4 p.m. EST, sales began to taper off, with most shoppers choosing to forego the tradition of shopping at midnight on Black Friday.

Overall, spending on Thanksgiving Day grew 14.3 percent, while Black Friday spending grew 8.2 percent, First Data reported

All regions of the U.S. showed positive year-over-year growth. New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions were 2015’s biggest winners, with growth of 13.1 and 12.9 percent, respectively, versus losses of 2-3 percentage points last year, likely attributable to severe weather in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states.

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