National Retail Federation: Spending Down Over $6 Billion From Last Year
According to the National Retail Federation, consumer spending on "Black Friday weekend" (Friday to Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend) was down a staggering 11% from last year. The NRF estimates that consumer spending clocked in at $50.9 billion over this past weekend, down from the $57.4 billion that was posted in the same weekend last year.
According to the NRF, the decline in spending was the result of many people electing not to brave the crowds this year. The NRF was expecting that 140.1 million American customers would visit retailers this past weekend, while the final number ended up coming in at 133.7 million. This came despite the fact that retailers, including the likes of Wal-Mart and Best Buy, were as aggressive with their pricing as they normally are.
These numbers, should they prove to be accurate, would be very distressing for retailers as a 4.1% increase in consumer spending had initially been expected.
So, why the decline? There are a number of possible reasons, including:
1) Many Americans are simply getting tired of the crowds and fights on "Black Friday" and are electing to stay home
2) The continued rise of online shopping (according to ComScore, online holiday spending is currently up over 15% from last year). With programs such as "Amazon Prime", many consumers are electing to remain in the comfort of their own homes to do their shopping.
3) Protests. In a number of areas of the country, protests over the situation in Ferguson unnerved shoppers and even temporarily shut down some stores.
4) Continued economic hardship for many Americans. With an unemployment rate of nearly 6%, many American families simply do not have the means to participate in "Black Friday" weekend shopping in a meaningful way.
There is some argument as to whether or not the "Black Friday" spending numbers are entirely accurate. The stock market certainly believes that they have some validity, however, as many retailers traded lower today.
Source: Yahoo.com - Black Friday Fizzles With Consumers as Sales Tumble 11%
Filed under: General Knowledge