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:
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.
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.
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