The National Retail Federation recently released the statistics for shopping on Black Friday weekend, including Cyber Monday, and a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the Black Friday weekend. That's up from 226 million last year.
Additionally, the average shopper spent $423 over the Black Friday weekend, which is up from $398 last year. Total spending for this year's weekend came in at around $59.1 billion.
Here's what we can learn from these reports.
#1. The Fiscal Cliff we are facing is not as bad as missing a deal.
There is a good increase from last year's sales. It appears that the specials and deals retailers were running, both online as well as in their stores, drew more people in and enticed them to spend more. And it looks like customers are less worried about the fiscal cliff than they are about getting good deals on holiday gifts.
#2. December Profits might be hurt:
Retailers in the United States have been offering extended deals, trying to draw the sales out beyond Black Friday. From a strategic standpoint, that is going to hurt December sales. Why? Because at some point, you have to make some profits. The point of Black Friday is to get people in the stores, to get a boost to sales. But then you go back to some normal pricing so you can make your profits in December. However, with more and more retailers extending the super deals that aren't necessarily highly profitable, they're going to have a harder time raising those prices later in December so they can get the margins they need.
#3. Black Friday becomes less special:
By extending Black Friday and also having Black Saturday, Black Sunday, Black Monday, Black Tuesday, etc., all of a sudden that special day becomes less special, and consumers do remember. That means next year, and the year after that, Black Friday becomes less of a driver to get people into the stores. So even though the strategy was successful this year and got people into the stores, it has the potential to dilute this special shopping day's power next year, which will, in turn, hurt retailers.
So the good news is that sales are up and consumers seem less concerned about the fiscal cliff. But while the specials around black Friday definitely worked, by extending them, it's creating a potential problem. This is one trend that will be interesting to watch unfold.