Offline Black Friday Sales Down, Cyber Monday Sales Strong

Though there were thousands of consumers checking out the deals online and in stores on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday sales were down more than $1 billion this year compared to last year, according to several reports.

Offline, or brick and mortar, sales fell from $11.6 billion in 2014 to a staggering $10.4 billion in 2015, according to a TIME report. That’s a 10 percent decrease in sales. The reason for the drop in Black Friday sales is being attributed to most retail stores offering discounts as early as Halloween, and the large number of online deals that allowed most consumers to shop from the comfort of their own homes, according to another report via The Guardian.

A new report from Adobe shows that online Black Friday sales were still very strong, despite the overall decrease. Americans spent over $100 million more than last year online. Some of the best-selling items were high-priced games and gadgets such as Beats by Dre headphones, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gaming consoles, and Samsung 4K smart TVs.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, consumers already spent a half billion dollars on Black Friday sale items. Even though Black Friday didn’t technically start around that time, the online sales started trickling in, and people were already buying. The sales report showed that there was a 24 percent increase in online Black Friday purchases during the time period from midnight through 11 a..m. on Thursday.

The change is likely because it’s easier than ever to shop these days. Consumers are using their gadgets and mobile devices to shop online this holiday season. Over half of the online shopping is conducted via a smartphone or tablet, while smartphone shopping has received a whopping 30 percent increase over the past year.

Even a National Retail Federation survey on Sunday, Nov. 29 found that more people shopped online during the holiday weekend, showing how quickly shopping habits have changed in just a short amount of time. This year, malls were quieter and crowds were smaller than usual over the Black Friday weekend. But, there’s been a huge rush in online traffic now that consumers are enjoying the rush of scoring a deal at home.

In turn, large retailers will have to adjust. JCPenney anticipated a rush of shoppers to enter their stores at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day but they were wrong. Walmart adjusted quickly by adding most of their doorbuster and Black Friday deals online, long before they were offered in stores. Target also experienced a big rush of traffic on their shopping site on Black Friday and again on Cyber Monday morning.

According to the retail federation survey, over 103 million shopped online compared to the 102 million people who shopped in stores.

“It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities,” said NRF President Matthew Shay.

Cyber Monday sales are also strong, but losing its luster. That’s because people are constantly shopping for deals online, according to The Seattle Times. Consumers are getting smarter as they learn to look out for the Cyber Monday deals and to see if those deals are even worth it. Plus, there are deals offered online throughout the year, making it less desirable to shop around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

But Cyber Monday still remains as the biggest online shopping day with totals expected to hit over $3 billion this year, according to Adobe Systems Inc. The average online order is $127.27, with 30 percent of sales coming from smartphones and tablets, IBM said.

U.S. consumers who tried to avoid the traffic jams and holiday shopping crowds at brick-and-mortar stores were faced with website outages, online traffic jams, product sellouts, and slow checkouts. Retailers like Neiman Marcus, Target, Wal-Mart, and Victoria’s Secret all experienced problems on Cyber Monday. Slow service was also reported from payment processor PayPal Inc.

Even Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit was having massive outage issues. It caused some news outlets to think that her $29 lip kits sold out in less than 60 seconds, when in actuality, the website was facing issues from an excessive amount of traffic.

Did you shop online or offline on Black Friday? And did you shop on Cyber Monday?

[Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images]