SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Early shopping and aggressive selling by merchants at unprecedented levels has shifted specialty store sales to earlier in the season, found in-store analytics leader RetailNext, causing overall reduction in traffic and sales on what is traditionally thought of as the Black Friday weekend. This revelation comes as part of RetailNext's analysis of shopping behavior for this very important period in North American retailing. The RetailNext analysis encompassed more than 650 stores and measured more than 2.6 million shopping trips to specialty retailers.
This season, more retailers eager to capitalize on the holiday shopping season opened their doors for the Black Friday rush earlier than ever. 26% of specialty stores were open at midnight and a full 60% by 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday. By 1:00 p.m. on Black Friday, shoppers had completed 50% of the day's shopping trips and 60% of its purchasing.
"We're seeing a strong pull for shopping to take place earlier in the season, but that hasn't translated to overall increases in sales," stated Shelley E. Kohan, VP of Retail Consulting, RetailNext. "In fact, the extended hours appear to have hurt specialty retailers who may not share the ability of the large anchor stores to draw in early shoppers through extreme sales and widely viewed marketing programs."
Figures for the specialty segment bear out this idea, with overall traffic down 10.9% and conversion off 0.5 points year-over-year (YOY). Fortunately, specialty retailers increased average transactional value (ATV) by 10%, leaving total sales down 4.7% compared to 2011. Black Friday itself mirrored these trends, with year-YOY traffic down 9.2% and conversion off 0.7 points. Once again a healthy ATV increase of 11.5% offset these weak points so that total sales were down a much milder 3.2%.
"Additionally, with increasingly more shoppers researching products, pricing and availability from the comfort of their own homes, shoppers are making fewer stops at multiple retailers," Ms. Kohan went on to say. "They determine their purchases before they leave the house and decide which items they will purchase on-line vs. the products they will purchase in the physical store. This trend is evidenced by the decline in traffic coupled with the tremendous increase in average transaction value."
Despite the hype of Cyber Monday last year, online purchasing in 2011 represented less than 5% of retail purchasing in the U.S. for the year (U.S. Department of Commerce). The statistic underscores the continued importance in-store sales for retailers, particularly during the Black Friday weekend.
Earlier shopping did not mean more buying
RetailNext found that on Black Friday itself specialty retailers saw significant early traffic that didn't always translate to sales. For example, from midnight until 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday, almost 7% of the day's traffic had visited specialty retail stores but only 3.4% of its sales had occurred.
And while retailers open on Thanksgiving Day definitely did better than in 2011, they mostly moved their sales earlier into the week rather than generating additional sales. Among retailers who were open on Thanksgiving Day, sales were up 47% YOY on flat traffic (up 1.5%), with a strong ATV increase and a healthy conversion lift of 1.4 points. However, these same retailers saw an 8% increase in sales for the four-day period from Thanksgiving to Sunday and an overall conversion reduction of 0.2 points.
"Early opening times, Thanksgiving Day hours, and sales extending clear to the prior weekend all served to stretch shopping out of its traditional three-day period," added Ms. Kohan. "But following these strong early sales, retail saw softness later in the weekend, in which retailers gave back most of the Thanksgiving Day gains, especially on Sunday."
Additional findings include:
- 47.5% of Black Friday sales took place between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., stemming from 27.7% of the day's traffic.
- Black Friday's peak sales hour was noon to 1:00 p.m., with peak traffic from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Methodology and Images
RetailNext examined results for more than 650 stores throughout the United States across eight retail chains in the specialty segment; both apparel and non-apparel. In total, the company examined more than 2.6 million shopping trips. Results are based on first-hand measured data from sample stores as opposed to surveys or self-reported data. All year-over-year (YOY) comparisons are for the same set of stores.
To learn more, view the RetailNext Black Friday infographic, as well as heat map images that visually portray the difference in store traffic between Black Friday and a typical Friday. Also follow the news on Twitter: @RetailNext.
RetailNext is the leader in Applied Big Data for brick-and-mortar retail, delivering real-time analytics that enable retailers and manufacturers to monitor, collect, analyze, and visualize in-store data. The patent-pending solution uses best-in-class video analytics, on-shelf sensors, and data from point-of-sale systems and other sources to automatically inform retailers about how people engage with their stores. The highly scalable RetailNext platform easily integrates with promotional calendars, staffing systems, and even weather services to analyze how internal and external factors impact customer shopping patterns – providing store operations executives with the ability to identify opportunities for growth, execute changes, and measure success.
Headquartered in San Jose, CA, RetailNext is a growing global brand operating in more than 20 countries. For more information, call +1-888-609-5877.