Consumers Break Black Friday, Cyber Monday Records

black friday

Despite recession fears, consumers were in a spending mood to kick off the holiday season, sending Black Friday sales at brick-and-mortar stores up 12% from last year and e-commerce sales up 14%, Mastercard SpendingPulse reported. Adobe Analytics put Cyber Monday sales at more than $7.9 billion, up 19.7%.

The National Retail Federation predicted just a 4.8% increase in holiday weekend sales. NRF noted the spending spree began in October when Census Bureau figures showed sales up 1.3% from September and 8.3% year-over-year, eclipsing the inflation level, which stood at 7.7%.

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said October’s figures were a strong indication consumers are setting aside worries over inflation, rising borrowing costs and overall economic uncertainties.

Michelle Meyer, North America chief economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute, said consumers started shopping for deals long before Black Friday.

The top performing categories on Black Friday were restaurants (up 21%), apparel (up 19%), and electronics (up 4%), a Mastercard analysis showed.

On Cyber Monday, sales of smartphones hit $2 billion, with buy-online-pickup-in-store boosting interest, said John Copeland, head of marketing and customer insights at Adobe.

Adobe said the biggest price cuts were for some toys, which saw discounts as high as 31.6%, followed by televisions and computers, cut 18% and 17.8%, respectively. Out-of-stock messages were up 0.3 points to 2.4%, representing $187 million in potential sales.

Who spent the most? Adobe said Denver consumers were the biggest spenders during the Thanksgiving weekend, averaging $163, followed by San Francisco at $157 and New York at $156.

Grocers weren’t left out. noted “Turkey Wednesday” marks the peak of the grocery calendar, with visits to supermarkets the day before Thanksgiving up 4.5% from last year, nearly doubling the average for the rest of the year.

“This indicates yet again that while visits may be reduced slightly compared to the year prior, the overall sector was given a long-term boost by the pandemic’s retail impact,” said.

“Traditional grocers such as Albertsons and Publix experience higher visitation peaks during Turkey Wednesday compared to limited-assortment grocers like Aldi, Lidl, and Trader Joe’s. This is an important takeaway as it reinforces the powerful role that many of these traditional, all-in-one grocery chains play—even in the face of rising competition from value and discount oriented competitors.”

Supermarket News reported (Nov. 28) several grocery chains offered Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, advertising the bargains on social media.

For example, Plum Market of Farmington Hills, Michigan, offered a $15 coupon for every $100 in in-store gift cards purchased online [the gift cards carried a hefty $14.95 service charge per order] while Dierbergs Markets in St. Louis offered $5 off on party trays costing at least $15 and Dorothy Lane Market of Dayton, Ohio, offered a 20% off online exclusive on its Killer Brownies, Supermarket News reported.

“Cyber Monday is here, and we’ve got all the snacks, like chips and cheese snacks, that you can easily eat with one hard while you shop with the other,” warehouse-style grocer Smart & Final of Commerce, California tweeted. “Order now for delivery!”