As we come off a big Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the question is have consumers already shopped to dropping or are there still legs in the retail sector asks Benjamin Shepherd of Investing Daily.
While turkey, stuffing, and cranberry dressing have been American holiday traditions for generations, retailers have a tradition of their own: Black Friday.
Starting in the late 1800s, many retailers began sponsoring Thanksgiving Day parades to draw potential customers into commercial districts and provide a not-so-subtle hint that the holiday shopping season had commenced. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which began in the 1920s, is probably the best-known example of this tactic. Since then, the Friday following Thanksgiving has become one of the year’s busiest shopping days.
This year’s Black Friday was no exception, even as the US economy continues to suffer from a serious post-financial crisis hangover. Americans reportedly spent an estimated $11.2 billion in brick-and-mortar stores—down 1.8% from last year—while online shopping receipts totaled just over $1 billion, the first time that level has been broken and a nearly 30% jump from last year.
Not content with just one day though, online retailers have helped fuel a new holiday tradition: Cyber Monday. Since the advent of the Internet, retailers and entrepreneurs have used it as a tool to separate consumers from more of their money. They’ve been pretty successful at it too, with employers reporting that their workers spend more time shopping on the Internet than actually doing their jobs. Online retail sales are expected to top $1.5 billion today, a 20% increase from a year ago.
That should amount to a holly, jolly holiday season for retailers this year. But how long can the party go on?