Black Friday emails and promotions are sent months in advance, letting consumers know that the deals are coming. Along with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Black Friday is the kick starter to the holiday shopping season. In 2014, during the months of November and December, holiday sales are predicted to increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion, up from a 3.1 percent increase in 2013. Unfortunately, for what are supposed to be the biggest shopping days of the year, some numbers did not live up to expectations.
Black Friday was a Dud
Black Friday sales start earlier every year. Pretty soon it won’t be called Black Friday. Instead, “Black November” might be the new trend.
According to Rakuten Marketing, Black Friday sales were down 8 percent from 2013. More shoppers took advantage of the early start on Thanksgiving Day, increasing sales by 19 percent from 2013. Even with Thanksgiving shoppers out in full force, sales for the two days combined still decreased by 3 percent.
Small Business Saturday Boomed
Despite its unfortunate placement right smack dab in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was a big success. Celebrating the “Shop Small” initiative for its fifth year, there was an overwhelming amount of support for small businesses.
A National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express report showed that 88 million consumers participated in Small Business Saturday. This number is up 14.9 percent from just last year. Of those who were surveyed, over 67 percent of the United States population was aware of Small Business Saturday and nearly $14.3 billion was spent by them at independent retailers and restaurants. This is a slight jump from the $14 billion that was spent in 2013.
Cyber Monday and Online Shopping
Online and mobile shopping is skyrocketing and Cyber Monday 2014 showed no exception to the growth of e-commerce. According to Custora data, Cyber Monday sales increased 15.4 percent from 2013, making it the biggest day in U.S. online shopping history, easily surpassing the record that was set only three days prior on Black Friday.
E-commerce revenue for Black Friday had the largest increase year over year of 20.6 percent. Thanksgiving Day’s online sales increased by 17.7 percent and Cyber Monday increased by 15.4 percent. This year, 21.9 percent of orders came from mobile devices alone – up from 15.9 percent on Cyber Monday 2013.
New Era for Holiday Shopping
We all know that e-commerce is on the rise. Online and mobile marketing are taking over and more consumers are using their smart devices to make purchases. But where the excitement should fall after the holiday trifecta is on the success of Small Business Saturday.
“More Americans recognize the direct link between shopping locally and stronger communities and that’s an extremely positive result,” said NFIB CEO and President Dan Danner. “We’re delighted by the success of Small Business Saturday but we’re even more excited by the growing commitment among Americans to give small businesses a chance to compete all year round.”
Nearly 3,000 Neighborhood Champions – organizations, communities and groups – came together to help support and promote awareness of small local businesses. Along with the “Shop Small” premier partners – FedEx, Eventbrite, Microsoft and Yelp – 446 additional companies took part in sponsoring Small Business Saturday, 386 advocacy organizations signed up to support the initiative and over 610,000 free online tools were made available and accessed by small business owners on ShopSmall.com. Online marketing also played a big role in the success of Small Business Saturday. There was a 10 percent increase in tweets using the hashtags #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall from 2013 – over 126,000 tweets – and more than 3.3 million Facebook users “liked” the Small Business Saturday “Shop Small” official page.
The 2014 holiday shopping weekend should put into perspective some rising changes and provide an optimistic outlook for small business owners and big corporations, alike.