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Black November Takes Its Toll On Thanksgiving Weekend

Shoppers spent 6 percent less on average, Senex says.

The extended Black Friday period, which saw its first wave of promotions on Nov. 1, has taken a bite out of Thanksgiving weekend sell-through.

According to TWICE market research partner Senex, 4 percent fewer consumers shopped this year during “Turkey 5,” the five-day period of Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, and those that did spent 6 percent less on average.

See: The End Of Black Friday As We Know It?

The total tally for the period: $88 billion, shelled out by some 182 million shoppers.

The findings jibe with figures released by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which cited a 6.6 percent decline in average spend, to $313.29 per shopper, during Turkey 5.

But that’s not to say Americans are pinching pennies this holiday season. The Senex Monitor of Shopping Trends (SMST) also measured an increase in pre-Thanksgiving shopping, as more retailers launched earlier promotions that pulled purchases forward and weekend averages down, Senex principal Bob Tancula said.

Another possible contributor to this year’s smaller turnout was a 16 percent decline in holiday- and Black Friday-themed advertising across all mediums during the Oct. 1-Nov. 22 period. According to market research firm Numerator, the decrease was driven by major national retailers like Walmart and Target, which scaled back their holiday advertising by 44 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from last year. However, total ad spend for period was up by nearly 8 percent, the firm observed.

Turkey 5’s big winners, as called by Senex, were Walmart and Amazon, which went to blows with expanded free-shipping offers; apparel and consumer tech, purchased by 70 percent and 62 percent of shoppers, respectively; and online traffic. E-commerce activity bested brick-and-mortar on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Sunday (Nov. 24), and absolutely trounced it on Cyber Monday, when 99.5 million people made purchases online, vs. 23.5 million in stores (see charts, below).

However, digital conversion rates declined during period, as the lines between channels continue to blur, Senex said.

See: Online Ruled The Tech Roost On Black Friday

The SMST is based on a survey of 1,200 consumers on Nov. 28 and internal Senex data.