Thanksgiving once marked a day of gratitude, spending time with loved ones, and, of course, a big turkey dinner.
But that has clearly taken a back seat to what now kicks off the busiest shopping time of the year. This year marked the first time retailers opened their doors to customers on Thanksgiving Day, with big-box stores including Target and Walmart hoping to make up for the shorter holiday shopping season. What we're finding is that while in-store sales were lower than usual for the holiday weekend, online revenue for the period was up, further cementing the notion that online shopping is becoming the norm.
1. Purchases at stores and Web sites fell 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion during the four days beginning with the Nov. 28 Thanksgiving holiday. While 141 million people shopped, which was about 2 million more than last year, the average consumer’s spending dropped 3.9 percent to $407.02.
2. Key findings from an analysis of retail paid search advertising over Thanksgiving and Black Friday found that phones and tablets accounted for nearly 40 percent of ad spend. Additionally, phones and tablets accounted for 44 percent of all paid search clicks.
3. While many reports indicated that, overall, in-store shopping for Thanksgiving weekend was slightly down, online shopping on Cyber Monday hit $2.29 billion in sales, up 16 percent year-over-year.
4. More encouraging results for retailers: Total online sales since Thanksgiving Day are up 26 percent YOY, to a whopping $7.4 billion, which amounts to more than 10 percent of retailers’ total holiday sales. Though traditional brick-and-click retailers dominated Thanksgiving weekend, Internet retailers battled back Monday in the war for holiday shopping dollars with 42 percent of the day’s total sales—$961 million (Web) vs. $801 million (brick-and-click).
5. Compared to Thanksgiving 2012, PayPal saw a 91 percent increase in consumers shopping through PayPal mobile around the world. eBay Enterprise, meanwhile, saw usage and orders grow nearly 130 percent 127 percent, respectively.
6. PayPal also revealed consumers in the U.S. mainly took to their mobile devices to shop throughout the day. That being said, the busiest time was between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. PT, presumably after dinner was well-settled in consumers’ stomachs.
7. There were dual online sales records for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, which saw 400 million visits during the two-day period. The increase in Thanksgiving online sales surpassed last year, breaking the billion-dollar mark at $1.06 billion, with actual spending up 18 percent. No laggard, Black Friday reached a record of its own, with actual spending jumping to nearly $2 billion ($1.93 billion)—up more than 30 percent YOY.
8. Even before its final round of deals kicked in at Walmart on Friday morning, the retailer announced that sales had exceeded last year’s record-breaking results with 10 million transactions completed between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
9. A study that examined mobile shopping activity across 20 retailers during Thanksgiving and Black Friday found that total mobile visits increased by 93 percent, overall mobile transactions increased 219 percent, and total revenue from mobile transactions increased by 368 percent.
10. Products, companies, and events that generated strong social media conversation on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday were Sony PlayStation 4, Amazon, iPad, and the National Football League (NFL). With more than 300,000 mentions, PlayStation 4 drove close to three times more social media traffic on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs (including WordPress and Blogger), YouTube, and Reddit than did Microsoft’s Xbox One.
11. Amazon was the most mentioned retailer, with close to 450,000 posts; Walmart was a close second. The NFL garnered almost twice as much social media buzz as Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving Day. Thoughts of shopping overshadowed the holiday itself, as social conversation containing the term “Black Friday” received more mentions than Thanksgiving Day.
12. During the past five days, $150 million in revenue came from social media referrals. Twitter referrals have grown the most, with a 24 percent increase YOY. Pinterest came in with 17 percent growth, and Facebook posted 12 percent growth. Overall, social media referrals remain flat, at 2 percent, with other networks, such as Tumbler, Reddit, Blogger, and YouTube, down against last year.
13. Walmart reports 22 million shoppers came through its stores in a four-hour period on Thanksgiving) night.
14. In the past seven years, for a population of more than 300 million, Black Friday in America has caused four deaths and 76 injuries.
15. Cyber Monday sales peaked between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, with sales in that hour alone totaling $150 million.