From the first data on the busiest days in US retail, one thing is clear: e-commerce is the undisputed winner of the 2016 holiday shopping season.
For the last decade, Black Friday has marked the start of holidays shopping season for American retailers, and as such it has been considered a key indicator for a period that accounts for approximately 30% of the total annual sales in the US (Source: National Retail Federation).
The figures released on last week's sales confirm important shifts in consumer behavior.
First, Black Friday is starting to look a lot like Cyber Monday: on Friday November 25th online spending reached $3.34 billions (+21.6% from 2015) compared to $3.45 billion on Monday 28th, according to Adobe Systems Inc.
Online shopping continues to grow at double digits rate even when significant in-store savings are advertised. According to Comscore online sales on desktop grew 12% in the period November 1st -24th, and a whopping +19% on Black Friday. On the other hand combined sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday at physical retail stores are expected to fall 5%, with a 7.9% decline in transactions according to RetailNext.
The second significant trend is the extending time frame of the shopping season. The data by RetailNext points to increasing sales in the period that precedes Black Friday, thanks also to Amazon's early discount strategy, with a peak expected on December 17th.
Finally, mobile played an important part in the growth of online sales reaching $ 1.2BN on Black Friday, +33% compared to 2015. Macy's was unprepared for this development and its mobile site was down for hours on Black Friday due to the high volume of traffic. Mobile traffic was particularly strong also on Thanksgiving Day when 60% of Target's sales came from mobile devices.