Total Retail: Black Friday Off to Slow Start In-Store, Momentum Gaining Online
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Total Retail: Black Friday Off to Slow Start In-Store, Momentum Gaining Online

Extracted from Total Retail, Author Joe Keenan

According to a CNBC report, retail stores in parts of the country appeared to be less crowded and more muted on Black Friday morning. The exception was Best Buy, which saw long lines of shoppers camping outside of its stores.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Simeon Siegel said he was taking the pulse of the consumer at Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey, in the wee hours of Friday morning.

“It feels like a normal day in 2006,” Siegel said. “Far from empty, far from Black Friday.” The stores that were busiest included lululemon, Bath & Body Works, and a number of teen retailers. “In true holiday fashion, people want candles, comfort and caffeine,” Siegel said.

This is counter to the early reports we’re hearing for online shopping activity this Black Friday morning. As of mid-morning on Friday, merchants that host their online stores on Shopify were raking in more than $1.92 million in sales per minute, according to a real-time tracker on the company’s website. At that rate, Shopify merchants are selling more than $100 million per hour.

This has already outpaced the rate of Black Friday sales Shopify saw in 2020. Last year, Shopify said it saw a peak of $1.5 million sales per minute on the busy shopping day.

Furthermore, Captify has released real-time Black Friday shopping insights based on search data, which could forecast what the rest of the day may look like. Here’s the data:

  • Amazon claims pole position for Black Friday, with a 260 percent year-over-year (YoY) increase in Black Friday deal searches, and 89 percent more searches this year than Walmart (which has dropped to second place).
  • Beauty has knocked electronics off the top of the charts, with a 52 percent YoY increase in Black Friday deal searches.
  • Doorbusters have become less of a priority to shoppers this year, with doorbuster deal searches decreasing 21 percent compared to 2020 — shaped by the pandemic and the shortage of inventory.
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