Despite my praise for the principles of commerce, I applaud the position of several major retail stores - including Barnes & Noble, Costco, Home Depot, PetSmart, T.J. Maxx, and many others - to stay closed on Thanksgiving. Black Friday is already a little gauche, and I appreciate these retailers avoiding the temptation of pushing Black Friday holiday shopping deals earlier to compete for consumers’ thoughts and wallets.
Another shopping trend I fully approve of is the replacement of Black Friday with Cyber Monday… but maybe we should just call it Cyber weekend? Personally, a lot of the deals I noticed for post-Thanksgiving shopping were available from Friday through this Monday. Less anecdotally, the National Retail Federation news release suggested three million more shoppers online from last year, record online sales (up 21.6% from 2015) and substantial increases of online shoppers (108 million vs. 103 million in 2015) while in store shoppers decreased (99 million vs. 102 million in 2015). Please note that all of these statistics I’m giving you are being released on Monday the 28th… so we don’t even have Monday’s full sales figures yet.
There were plenty of discounts offered (thus, average spending per consumer was slightly down) but the increase in volume more than made up for it. If consumer spending is still the lifeblood and key metric for economic growth and stability, 2016 looks to end on solid footing.