Shoppers shift to websites from stores during Thanksgiving weekend

November 30, 2016 03:50 PM

More shoppers are choosing to spend more of their holiday shopping dollars online rather than in stores for the second straight year.

That’s according to a just-released report from RetailNext, a shopper analytics provider. RetailNext’s data shows that shoppers spent 4.2% less in stores in the U.S. over the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend, while 4.4% fewer shoppers headed out to those stores and in-store conversion rates fell .3% from a year ago.

This shift in shopper preference from stores to online was also reflected in data released by the National Retail Federation in conjunction with Prosper Insights. Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst at Prosper, told reporters on a conference call on Sunday that the number of shoppers who indicated they shopped online over the weekend grew by 4.2% year-over-year, while the number of shoppers who shopped in store fell by 3.7%.

“If anything, the weekend results underlie the importance of brands effectively converging digital and physical channels to deliver a single, seamless shopping experience to consumers, particularly during the high-volume holiday season, as well as engaging store traffic to ensure conversion somewhere along a brand’s many shopper touchpoints,” says Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext.

ShopperTrak, which monitors shopper traffic at malls and retail stores, reports store traffic dropped 1% year-over-year on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Retail chains report that shoppers who did wind up coming to their stores over the holiday weekend were at least in part lured by the desire to pick up online orders there. J.C. Penney Co. Inc., No. 33 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, tweeted on Cyber Monday that 33% of its online orders were being picked up in stores.

comScore Inc. reports shoppers have spent $29.7 billion online on non-travel purchases through the first 28 days of November, up 12.4% from the same time last year. That growth rate was even sharper during the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, with U.S. shoppers spending $8.414 billion, up 16.8% from $7.201 billion last year.

A survey released by Market Track showed that of the three major shopping days over Thanksgiving weekend – including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving was the only one in which more shoppers planned to shop in stores (50%) than online (38%). On Black Friday, traditionally a day when shoppers head to stores for deals, more shoppers indicated they would be shopping online (52%) than in-stores (45%). That contrast was even starker on Cyber Monday, which saw 61% of shoppers say they would be shopping online compared to 31% in-store.




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