Holiday Update #4- Are We There Yet?

December 2, 2016

Happy holidays! We hope your holiday season is off to a great start (personally + professionally).

We are happy to report that the vast majority of you had a great stretch of sales over the holiday weekend. Results are indicating that there was indeed pent-up demand after a soft October and early November. We are seeing this across price points and categories. There is no question promotions helped to spur the growth, but even a few of the strong emerging brands we work with who stayed full price did very well, particularly on Cyber Monday. Here is a summary of the key stats from the long weekend:

· Online sales on Black Friday hit a record-breaking $3.34 billion, up 21.6% year-over-year, according to Adobe Digital Insights. As expected, electronics and toys dominated Black Friday shopping lists.

· Wal-Mart credits mobile for driving more than 70% of its Black Friday traffic. In total, the mobile channel generated 36% of total digital sales on Black Friday 2016, surging 33% over last year and eclipsing $1 billion in one-day total sales for the first time ever, according to Adobe.

· On Black Friday, desktop conversion rates average 5.5%, tablets 4.6%, and smartphones just 2.4% (Adobe).

· Amazon offered the deepest average discount on Black Friday promotions of any major U.S. retailer, with shoppers saving 42% off on average, compared to 36% off on Best Buy, 35% off on Target and 33% on Wal-Mart, according to data from e-commerce analytics firm Clavis Insight supplied to Retail Dive.

· Average spending per person over Thanksgiving weekend totaled $289.19, down slightly from $299.60 last year (those numbers aren’t exactly comparable because the NRF changed its methodology, the group said in a press release).

· Sales on Cyber Monday increased 12.1 percent over the prior year, to $3.45 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. That topped the firm’s projection for 9.4 percent growth, despite greater-than-expected sales on Black Friday.

· According to ShopperTrak, visits to brick-and-mortar locations fell 1 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. While that was a more modest dip than expected, it nonetheless showed that consumers are allocating more of their budgets toward the web. Separate data from the NRF’s consumer survey found that 3 million fewer people visited stores this Black Friday weekend, while 5.5 million more shopped online.


We saw an incredible amount of discounting this past week, often 30-50% off (plus free shipping!) so our hats go off to those brands who remained steadfast at full price: Blu Dot, Everlane, Allbirds, Samuel Hubbard, American Giant, and Uncommon Goods, to name a few. The below chart was just published by Wallet Hub and represents the average discount by major retailers over the weekend.

With another week of over 100 pieces in my mailbox, I continue to see new records of mail every week. Most of these pieces are sent to me as a prospect, and there is a greater mix of form factors (not just catalogs) than ever before. While apparel was still the lion’s share at 30, the gift category surged to 23 catalogs, not including 12 children’s catalogs. It is interesting to note that the number of catalogs targeting the 30- to 40- something consumer continues to surge; also interesting was an 8-panel piece by Victoria’s Secret back in the mail. We will have a full DM creative update to you with holiday trends in the next few days.

Lastly, we are excited to announce our next client summit – Driving Retail Forward- on May 4th and 5th in Napa Valley, CA. Here is the link for more information and registration. We hope to see you there!

Wishing you great success,
Polly & Your Friends at Belardi/Ostroy