A report from Fung Business Intelligence Centre Global Retail & Technology (FBIC) predicts Thanksgiving week sales will be soft because customers started their holiday shopping early this year.
A combination of consumer behavior and month-long promotions has led to consumers getting an early start. The National Retail Federation reports that a record 56.6% of holiday shoppers had begun their buying by early November this year, up from 54.4% last year. Combined with a backlash against some retailers opening on Thanksgiving, Black Friday as a whole is becoming less of an indicator for the overall season, writes Executive Director Deborah Weinswig.
“Overall, the dominance of Black Friday single-day sales continues to wane as retailers spread their Black Friday promotions throughout the Thanksgiving weekend and emphasize deals throughout the entire month of November,” Weinswig wrote. The report noted that while Black Friday weekend sales declined 11.3% year-over-year in 2014, overall retail spending in November rose 5%.
In fact, a number of retailers including Costco, Home Depot, T.J. Maxx and Sam’s Club are reversing the trend of opening on Thanksgiving Day, and REI will not open on Black Friday at all.
Economic fundamentals bode well for the season, with gas prices down 27% from 2014 giving an average of $700 of additional income to U.S. households, per capita disposable income up 2.8% and unemployment at a seven-year low. The weather largely is cooperating as well, with cold and dry conditions in the west driving demand for seasonal goods, while dry but warmer weather in the East will support foot traffic.
“Additional dollars in shoppers pockets might benefit different categories of Black Friday sales, as we see consumers increasingly spending more money on travel and dining experiences, big-ticket home items and beauty products,” Weinswig said.