US retailers may have shot themselves in the foot this Black Friday by offering deals and special offers consistently throughout the year, suggests a National Retail Federation (NRF) report. On average, consumers in the US spent $380.95 per person, down 6.4 percent from 2013, and overall sales fell by 11 percent.
The disappointing result of the so-called Superbowl of shopping is down to a shift in consumer spending habits
The disappointing result of the so-called Superbowl of shopping is down to a shift in consumer spending habits, particularly a steady growth in online shopping, the report claims. 42 percent of shoppers did so online, spending an average of $159.55 – down 10.2 percent from last year, when the average was $177.67.
“A strengthening economy that changes consumers’ reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift this weekend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, adding that this is a trend expected to continue for years to come. The lower-than-expected sales surprised many, who saw positive economic data as a sign of a stronger holiday period, but consumers are now more confident that they can expect further deals throughout the holiday season.
Discounted high-end clothing, televisions and toys were the hottest items flying off the shelves, with traffic driven largely by millennials – those aged between 18-34. Surprisingly, 35 percent of those who responded to the NRF’s survey said they utilised email circulars from retailers to keep track of deals over the weekend.
The Black Friday phenomenon is yet another US import to find its way across the Atlantic in recent years. Shops across the UK descended into chaos as customers jostled and fought over televisions and coffee machines, resulting in temporary store closures, countless injuries and several arrests being made.