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So… was Black Friday 2021 a success?

Here is a breakdown:

1 2021 Black Friday sales were robust with consumers really interested in and able to spend

US shoppers spent 14% more on merchandise ex auto from Nov 26 to 28, vs same holiday weekend last year. [Source: MasterCard SpendingPulse, calculates U.S. retail sales across all payment methods)

2 Holiday Sales have been pulled earlier and smoothed across a longer timeframe as retailers kicked off season sooner and consumers are buying early to avoid missing popular items due to supply chain disruptions. Buying earlier can = buying more

November had a record 18 days with sales over $3 billion! Black Friday is still major online shopping day, and surge coming from less marketed days of season. [Adobe Digital Insights]

3 Brick and mortar sales grew, driven by consumers COVID fatigue (want to get out!) and Retailer push

Store traffic rose 61% this Black Friday vs 2020 but still down 27% from 2019 [RetailNext, tracks shopper counts]

4 Digital sales were very strong, being flat to slightly up vs 2020’s record high

Online spend grew 5% over 3-day period vs same time 2020, and by 28.7% vs 2019 [MasterCard SpendingPulse]

Black Friday Online sales of $8.9B fell just short of last year’s record $9.03B but were up 19.8% vs $7.43B in 2019 [Adobe]

5 Larger Retailers took share from smaller as they managed supply chains and inventory better. However, smaller merchants had higher order value.

Many large retailers e.g., Walmart and Target brought in inventory ahead of the holidays; Some smaller chains, e.g., Gap and Victoria’s Secret are scrambling to keep shelves stocked.

6 Stockouts were an issue with supply chain challenges

Number of items offered on retail sites shrunk by 6% [Salesforce]

124% increase in out-of-stock messages in November through Black Friday vs Jan 2020. Categories most challenged: appliances, electronics, housekeeping supplies and home & garden. [Adobe]

7 Prices were higher and discounts lower as retailers reworked financials

Average selling price in 5-days from Tuesday through Sunday was up 13% and average discount on retail websites was 26% on Black Friday, down 9% vs 2020. [Salesforce]

8 What's next?

National Retail Federation expects U.S. retail sales in November and December to rise by a record 8.5% to 10.5% from 2020 to $859B (avg growth in past 5 years is 4.4%).

Note: this may change with new COVID strain triggering worries.

So, overall Black Friday sales (through Cyber Monday) have done well!

Hopefully the new COVID variant is contained to allow for a healthy full holiday season.


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