Black Friday Boost: U.S. in-store retail witnessed a significant surge last week, fueled by aggressive discounts reminiscent of the December shopping spree. However, the year-over-year sales gain during the Black Friday kickoff week marked the smallest increase in six years.
According to the Johnson Redbook Index, sampling 9,000 U.S. general merchandise retailers, sales rose by 6.3% year-over-year in the week ending. This followed the prior week’s 3.4% gain, as cost-conscious consumers sought substantial discounts during the Black Friday weekend. Some hesitated on higher ticket items, prioritizing value, and comparison shopping online. Others opted to wait for Cyber Monday’s anticipated deep discounts.
Despite the boost, this Black Friday-week gain is the smallest since the 4.8% increase in 2017. The data reflects a trend of more consumers embracing early and deeper online discounts, with e-commerce sales on Nov. 24 growing by 8.5% year-over-year, outpacing the 1.1% increase in in-store sales, according to a Mastercard index.
This year’s holiday shopping season boasts the most budget-friendly experience in years, with toys, games, and hobby gear seeing price dips for the first time since 2020. Sporting goods prices also declined for the first time since 2018, as indicated by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ongoing trend of discounts aligns with the Federal Reserve‘s aggressive interest rate hikes, potentially curbing the steep price increases that retailers had imposed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumers are navigating the holiday season well and taking advantage of holiday promotions, giving them ample choice as they hunt for gifts for everyone on their list, noted Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard. Consumers are also shopping smarter, using all of their tools from searching across channels to cross-checking on apps and websites to maximize value while they spend time with friends and family.
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