Record-Setting Black Friday Sales Give Hope for a Strong Holiday Shopping Season
Despite speculation about higher price tags and supply-chain issues, consumers broke sales records online and in-person Black Friday weekend. Southern California malls were crowded, and shoppers were enthusiastic on this official kick-off to the holiday shopping season.
The Los Angeles shopping enclave Beverly Hills was buzzing with shoppers on Black Friday, especially on the famed and festively decorated Rodeo Drive. Foot traffic was robust as consumers filled the sidewalks and waited in line to enter stores such as Bvlgari, Cartier, Dior and Louis Vuitton. Consumers looked for luxury items, not necessarily deals. The overall sense was that shoppers made purchases for themselves first and then started their gift buying. Many targeted certain items while being open to new and unique products that caught the eye. Consumers said it felt good to be out again; get in the holiday spirit; see people; touch, feel and smell the goods; and celebrate a beautiful Southern California day.
E-commerce record-breaking Black Friday sales
A new Black Friday online record was set with $9.12 billion in sales, according to the Adobe Analytics 2022 Holiday Shopping Trends & Insights Report,with $88 billion spent by consumers purchasing on their desktops and laptops (55.35 percent) and $71 billion made via mobile devices (44.65 percent). Adobe’s total estimated revenue for the season is $209.7 billion. Taking the lead were electronics including Apple products, smart televisions and speakers followed by gaming consoles, air fryers and espresso machines. Other hot online sellers included Squishmallows, Instapot, Xbox Series X and drones. There was no shortage of online offers from the auto, fashion, entertainment, hospitality and travel industries. Even networking platform Zoom was offering upgrades to35 percent off Zoom One Pro.
Decking the malls
High-end shopping malls The Grove in Los Angeles and Palisades Village in Pacific Palisades, Calif., opened an hour early on Black Friday while South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., maintained regular business hours. The Citadel Outlets in Commerce, Calif.,opened its doors early on Thanksgiving for an all-night shopping party that included hourly “Snowy Nights” shows and photo ops with the towering 115-foot-tall Christmas tree. Citadel Outlet employees were also offered complimentary neck and back massages.
The Westfield Century City mall in West Los Angeles was bustling with Black Friday first-timers as well as loyal shoppers like mother/daughter duo Vicki and Sammy. “Black Friday is a big deal for our family. Part of the fun is getting up really early and spending the day shopping. It’s an event and a tradition,” said Vicki, who found great deals for the kids and other family members from Madewell and Nordstrom. “We were pleasantly surprised to see that sales were pretty good,” added Sammy. College students Alana and Lyn waited in line for specials at Levi’s. “I’m one of those crazy Black Friday shoppers. I’ll wake up at 4 a.m. and get ready,” said Alana, who picked up sweaters and leggings for herself. Lyn purchased everyday tops and makeup at Sephora. “I’m not looking for any brands in particular. Just whatever is on sale makes it more appealing,” said Lyn. Friends Sean and Shelley found flannels and Christmas attire for him while Shelley purchased outerwear and other items from All Saints, JCrew, Cotton On and Zara. Overall, purchases ranged from footwear, fragrances and skin care to clothing, jewelry and cars. Consumers toting shopping bags from stores included Anthropologie, Bloomingdale’s, Our Place, Playboy and Tiffany. The mall’s upbeat, festive feel with the pop-up Market at Westfield area featured small businesses with specialty gift items and entertainment that included a magical snowy experience to dazzle the crowd.
Small Business Saturday
Small Biz Saturday falls between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, which are dominated by large retailers offering steep discounts in-store and online. SBS is the day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities. This year, ROW DTLA and the A.R.T.S.Y. Trading Post kicked off with a two-day indoor-outdoor marketplace of dozens of small and emerging businesses and brands across sustainable home goods, apparel, accessories and more.
NRF reports record Thanksgiving holiday weekend sales
The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics reported a record 196.7 million people shopped from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday for an estimated increase of between 6 percent and 8 percent over the year-ago periodofNov. 1 through Dec. 31. This figure is almost 17 million more people than last year and is the highest since NRF began tracking these data in 2017. The top gifts purchased were clothing and accessories (50 percent), toys (31 percent), gift cards (27 percent), books/video games/other media (24 percent), food and candy (23 percent) and electronics (23 percent).
Insights from Radial e-commerce solutions
Cindy Almond, VP of client services at the Prussia, Penn.–based Radial, a leading e-commerce-solutions provider, noted three themes emerging this holiday season. Consumers are more cost-conscious, scrutinizing where they spend their money. Last year’s scarcity of products resulted in a decline in promotional activity, allowing retailers to recognize higher margins; this year, the situation is reversed, with many apparel retailers sitting on excess inventory. While promotional discounts and free freight drive consumer behavior, retailers will also realize gains through conveniences such as pick-up in-store or curb side.
Predictions from Vericast
A recent report from the San Antonio, Texas–based Vericast “found coupons are the top way holiday shoppers plan to save money this year followed by holiday deal days,” according to Chip West, retail and consumer behavior expert at Vericast. “Consumers are actively in pursuit of offers. They’ll purchase both in-store or online based on whatever channel delivers the better value.” West added that retailers should focus on delivering a diverse omni-channel experience to meet shoppers’ preferences. “Holiday deal-seekers are ready to pounce on desired gifts when they see an attractive offer. We’re also seeing more consumers willing to finance, so even without immediate funding consumers will shop,” he added.
Insights from Algolia: tighter purse strings
“The retail landscape is softening with inflation, supply-chain delays and that consumers are focusing their spending on experiences over material items,” said Piyush Patel, chief strategic business development officer at the San Francisco–based Algolia. “After what we saw with Amazon’s Early Access Sale and its less than stellar profits, it’s not a good sign for the remainder of the holiday shopping season.” Patel added, “Retailers will need to be more strategic than ever by increasing their predictive search—i.e., make it quick and easy for consumers to search for what they want plus anticipating what else they may want to buy and keep them coming back.”
All photos by Kelli freeman except as noted.