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Black Friday isn’t as special as it used to be

Posted at 6:03 PM, Nov 29, 2015

NEW YORK — Black Friday is fading.

It’s still a key sales day for retailers, but holiday shopping promotions began earlier than ever this year. And consumers responded by shopping earlier than ever.

The massive sales peaks that used to surround Black Friday have been replaced by calmer, sustained sales over the holiday shopping season.

“It’s reflective of the economy. It’s a steady pace, it’s not as intense, but we’re busy,” said National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

He added that the industry is likely to reap the benefits of the wage and employment growth shown in the October jobs report in the coming weeks.

ShopperTrak said sales may have declined from 2014. It estimated in-store shoppers spent about $12.1 billion over the two-day period.

Thinner crowds in stores over Black Friday weekend were also partly attributable to virtual shopping.

Online browsing and orders had their strongest year yet, according to reports from IBM and Adobe that showed double-digit increases in online spending.

Adobe reported digital sales netted $2.7 billion on Friday, a 14.3% increase from last year.

A host of new apps and improved mobile sites from major retailers drove traffic to tablets and smartphones. IBM reported the majority, 57%, of online traffic came from mobile devices for the first time ever this year.

IBM and Adobe also reported the hottest holiday products, which included Samsung TVs, the Apple Watch, Beats by Dre headphones and iPads.

The NRF’s survey revealed shoppers spent $299.60 on average online or in stores. About a quarter of that amount was on self-gifting.

The NRF changed its surveying methodology and said the report is not comparable to last year’s numbers.