US Holiday Shopping Season: One Record After Another

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Another Thanksgiving weekend, which traditionally kicks off the shopping season, is history and has made history as well. According to figures provided by Julius Baer’s analysts, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online from 23-27 November, i.e. the weekend from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday with an average spending of USD 355.47 per person.

Over 58 million people shopped exclusively online versus over 51 million who shopped only in stores. Over 64 million shopped both online or in stores. The most popular day for in-store shopping was Black Friday, and for online shopping Cyber Monday, which hit a new record as the largest online shopping sales day in US history with USD6.59bn in sales, up 16.8% from 2016. On Black Friday shoppers spent USD5.03bn online, up 16.9% from 2016. In total Americans spent USD19.62bn online over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, about USD2.6bn more than last year.

While online sales have been surging, traffic in stores dropped 1.6% on the two-day Thanksgiving–Black Friday period. However, the fact that physical retailers saw only a small traffic decline during this period shows that brick-and-mortar stores are still very important. Even the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced that department stores were still a top shopping destination over the Thanksgiving weekend. It is also worth mentioning that the vast majority of holiday sales still happen in stores, not online. Total sales are expected to reach USD682bn this year, thereof USD107bn online, according to the NRF.

The shopping season so far has not been a story of stores versus online, but rather one of mobile. Mobile was a key driver in reaching the new records in online sales, especially on Cyber Monday, accounting for 33.1% (24.1% smartphones, 9.0% tablets) of Cyber Monday revenue. Revenue coming from smartphones saw a 39.2% increase and hit a new all-time high of USD1.59bn.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.