Thanksgiving Steals Black Friday Sales

This year, more and more people are shopping on the day of Thanksgiving instead of the following day. According to ShopperTrak, a research firm based on Chicago, U.S. spent over $9.74 billion on Black Friday alone.

Recently, businesses have been beginning their sales even earlier than Black Friday. A retail trade group known as the National Retail Federation predicted that almost a quarter of the 140 million people who planned to shop during that week would complete most of their shopping on Thanksgiving.

“Retailers were pretty successful in drawing the consumers into the stores on Thursday,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. He also added that “Thursday’s sales came at the expense of Black Friday’s numbers.”

Compared to last year, Black Friday sales have been steadily decreasing. ShopperTrak stated that sales dropped 13.2 percent from last year. However, when combined, the sales from Black Friday and Thanksgiving show that the $12.3 billion in sales rose 2.3 percent from last year. While many stores continue to remain open, Thanksgiving, along with Christmas, is still one of the top two days that most stores are closed.

These numbers were also far lower than what many stores anticipated. This year, it seems, shoppers were less enticed by the marketing and bargains from many major stores. Or, perhaps more people simply did not want to fight their way through the violent crowds just to get a discounted TV.

This year is also one of the shortest Thanksgiving-to-Christmas time spans in many years. Retailers, accustomed to having a longer shopping season, are now issuing less than optimistic forecasts for the ending of the 2013 year.

Ken Perkins of the data firm Retail Metrics, said that the week preceding Christmas will be “highly competitive” as stores offer even deeper discounts than the common 50 percent off on Black Friday.

“Sales were constrained by weak apparel sales this month,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist for the Retail Metrics. “November was a very competitive environment for retailers, and the softness in the November tally suggests some cautiousness by consumers.”

As more and more retailers offer Thanksgiving discounts, Black Friday sales are steadily decreasing. While more sales seems like a good thing for retailers, the Thanksgiving sales do little to make up for the comparatively small amount of shoppers in Black Friday. As the years progress, Thanksgiving may earn more in sales than Black Friday, the holiday originally meant to lure in customers for holiday shopping.