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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 27, 2010 • Issue 10:12:02

Black Friday, Cyber Monday post promising sales

Sales figures from Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday indicate that consumers may be loosening their purse strings a bit this holiday season, buying more discretionary items and going online in increasing numbers to make purchases.

According to a survey sponsored by the National Retail Federation and conducted by BIGresearch, consumers expected to spend a total of $45 billion over Black Friday weekend (Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, through Sun., Nov. 28, 2010), up from the $41.2 billion reported in the NRF's 2009 survey.

The NRF's 2010 survey, which was conducted Nov. 25 to 27 and polled 4,306 consumers, estimates that 212 million shoppers planned to visit stores and websites Black Friday weekend, spending an average of $365.34 per person. This year's average order value per consumer reflected an increase of 6 percent over 2009's figure of $343.31.

Other noteworthy trends reported by the survey include:

  • According to the NRF, 22.3 million shoppers were out hunting for bargains on Thanksgiving Day, compared to 18.1 million in 2009. "Clearly there is an appetite for consumers to do shopping on Thanksgiving," said Scott Krugman, Vice President, Industry Public Relations, for the NRF, during a recent press briefing on the survey results.

  • Men spent an average of $417, compared to the average of $316 that women spent. Ellen Davis, Vice President of the NRF, also speaking during the press briefing, attributed men's willingness to spend more to their apparent greater confidence in signs of economic recovery and their tendency to buy bigger-ticket items.

  • Consumers are showing renewed interest in discretionary or luxury-type items, rather than just bargain hunting for necessities. This was particularly evidenced by a year-over-year increase of 22 percent in the number of people who planned to purchase jewelry, Davis noted.

  • The percentage of consumers shopping at discount stores dropped 7.2 percent from the previous year. "This year, price and sales are still important," Davis said. "But there are a lot of factors being evaluated by consumers. People are looking at quality, convenience of purchasing, service and selection."

  • According to NRF data, 33.6 percent of Black Friday weekend shoppers shopped online, representing a 15 percent increase over the prior year.

Small businesses see increased sales

Small businesses apparently fared particularly well on Black Friday if the results experienced by the 15,000 small business clients for which Newtek Business Services Inc. provides transaction processing are any indication. Newtek offers services ranging from payment processing to website development for small businesses.

Barry Sloane, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Newtek, said, "When we looked at our merchant portfolio, and we looked at Black Friday of this year versus last year, we came in with a real-time increase in processing (sales dollar) volume of about 21 percent. We're pretty confident that our portfolio is representative of the small-business market and economy."

Overall, sales for businesses within Newtek's processing portfolio for the period of Black Friday through the following Monday were up approximately 6 percent over the previous year.

Cyber shopping has banner year

IBM's Coremetrics, a web analytics company that tracks consumer spending and shopping behavior online, reported that online sales on Cyber Monday were up 19.4 percent over 2009. In line with a trend noted by the NRF, Coremetrics' data indicated sales of luxury goods were up 24.3 percent over 2009.

Souheil Badran, Senior Vice President of eCommerce Solutions at First Data Corp., reported that the leading payment processor's clients experienced a 14 percent year-over-year increase in online spending on Cyber Monday.

Badran said the largest portion of payments for online transactions is "still coming through credit, but the actual number of debit transactions continues to increase."

Alternative payments also gained a greater share of the online shopping market during Cyber Monday. For example, PayPal reported a 21 percent increase in payment volume on Cyber Monday 2010 over the same day in 2009.

Consumers are turning to mobile technology more frequently to assist them in their holiday shopping, according to a survey conducted for Shop.org by BIGresearch. The number of people intending to shop on Cyber Monday with a mobile device increased from 4 million in 2009 to 7 million in 2010. end of article

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