Early Holiday Shopping: Surging but not Splurging

Early Holiday Shopping: Surging but not Splurging


The numbers are filing in regarding Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the early holiday shop in general and while most reports are claiming shoppers are flocking to retail stores thus far, many are buying smaller ticket items and spending a bit less than the early returns from 2006.

Many consumers were drawn to discount stores and bargain prices, reflecting concerns about the economy, including rising energy costs and falling home prices. According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF),

conducted by BIGresearch, more than 147 million shoppers hit retail Black Friday weekend, up 4.8% from last year. The spending numbers reflected that consumers spent 3.5% less on average than last year, $347.44 – down from the $360.15 in 2006. Many retailers reported that they made up for the lower average individual spending with the increased traffic surge.

“While last year showed a greater emphasis on high-definition televisions, this year consumers were focused on lower priced doorbusters like digital photo frames and laptops” said NRF president/CEO Tracy Mullin.

Retail analyst Martha Refik added that retailers need to consider the change in mindset his year and play to the idea of the “enhanced lifestyle” theme that is winning consumers over these days. “Consumers really want to see how a product will fit into their current lifestyle and hopefully enhance it and make something they do involving that product easier and more efficient,” she began. “This is especially true with the under 40 demographic today.”

NRF’s research also showed that the most popular items purchased during the Black Friday weekend were clothing/clothing accessories (46.8 percent) as well as books, CDs, DVDs, videos or videogames (41.7 percent), with consumer electronics/imaging ranking third (35.7 percent), reported the research.

As has been the case the last several years according to NRF, men were the higher spending Black Friday consumers as according to the survey the doorbuster specials in the CE category were a big draw for males as they outspent women $393.63 to $303.95.

The study added that as of Sunday, Nov. 26, the average consumer had completed 36.4 percent of holiday shopping, showing virtually no change from last year. Only 8.2 percent had reported that they had finished their holiday shopping. The NRF continues to project that holiday sales will rise 4 percent this year to $474.5 billion.