In short, the news from the world of retail and for the overall economic health of the industry is “all good.” Looking at the final numbers, we see plenty of very positive numbers across the board in a holiday shopping season in which both retailers and their customers made out quite well.
The National Retail Federation reported an overall increase of 3% during the November and December of 2015. You, us, and apparently every one of our friends spent generously, with overall dollars spent was more than $626 billion. In a sign of changing retail patterns, Americans spent roughly $105 billion, an overall increase of 9% over last year’s numbers, online and outside of traditional brick and mortar stores. That number is expected to grow further in 2016.
Black Friday itself (November 27) was a different story. Numbers for that day alone were down by as much as 10% according to the Washington Post, but as we surmised, this was due more to the early start to the shopping season (November 1st was the kickoff for many retailers) who seem to have spread out the best deals, causing shoppers to start early as well. Shoppers seemed to be asking themselves “Why wait until Black Friday when you can get the same deal early in the month?”
Though inclement weather in various parts of the nation caused shoppers in some regions to appear in lower numbers at times, we purchased plenty of merchandise during the holiday months. The good news is that we got more for our money.
According to many sources, more shoppers took advantage of more excellent prices than ever before, and the amount and quality of merchandise for our collective shopping dollar was higher than ever. Basically, we seem to have gotten a good deal the entire season.
Of course, at the head of the pack was Amazon. The online only retailer reported record sales thanks to a whopping eight days of “Black Friday” pricing on everything from their own Kindles to toys from the most popular brand. According to the Washington Post, the giant seller said that their sales were up by 200% on their own electronic devices. One study reported tha Amazon was responsible for a staggering 36% of all dollars spent on Cyber Monday.
All in all, it was a great year for holiday shopping, both for those selling, and those buying.