A larger portion of the shopping done during Thanksgiving and Black Friday now happens online. According to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, for the first time, a majority of people planned to do their holiday shopping online instead of in stores this year. Salesforce data shows that online sales in the United States on Thanksgiving Day alone jumped 17 percent to $4.1 billion. Adobe Analytics estimates $7.5 billion in sales for Black Friday online, an increase of over 20.5 percent year-over-year.
Spot checks on the ground showed fewer people lined up outside stores as Black Friday shopping kicked off. For the past two years, the number of people joining the tradition has trended lower. PwC found that only 36 percent of people said they planned to do most of their holiday shopping on Black Friday this year, a considerable decline from the 51 percent reported just three years ago.
Much of the decline could be attributed to early discounts offered by many big retail chains. There are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day this year, leading many retailers to start offering their deals before Black Friday. According to consumers polled by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the first week of November, more than half of had already begun making purchases and Americans had already completed almost a quarter of their shopping, on average.
Another factor could be how retailers have conditioned shoppers to expect big discounts on days other than Black Friday. In addition to holiday sales starting around Halloween, retailers have moved doorbusters back to Thursday, or even Wednesday, and added new shopping holidays like Cyber Monday and Prime Day. All of those factors seem to have taken the shine off America’s biggest shopping day.