From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, consumers are only expected to spend 2.2 percent more than last year on gifts, according to a retail forecast from IBISWorld. Consumers are more focused on spending money on entertaining than on gifts, according to the market research firm. Money spent on food, drink and turkeys will go up 3.7 percent,
outpacing gift spending.
The recession has had a big impact on spending in the past five years. According to IBISWorld’s historical data from the past five years, 2009 and 2011 were particularly bad, with completely flat spending. Last year was the best in the past five years, with a nearly 6 percent increase in spending on Black Friday and an almost 10 percent uptick in the weekend as a whole. This year, the growth will taper off a bit. Spending on Black Friday is projected to go up 3.9 percent to $13.6 billion, but for the weekend as a whole, IBISWorld came up with a lower figure, $38.6 billion, which is up just 1.7 percent from the previous year.
Cyber Monday rightly deserves a category of its own. Even in the recession, online spending continued to grow. Sure, some online spending is additive, but most of the growth online comes from consumers shifting their behavior and moving their purchases online. This year, spending during Cyber Monday is projected to increase 13 percent, slightly less than the near 20 percent growth in the past two years. Cyber Monday is still less than a fifth the size of Black Friday, but many consumers prefer slower page load times to being crushed in a stampede of crazed shoppers.
IBISWorld’s study doesn’t comment on upticks on Thanksgiving Day shopping. Many retailers now open the evening of Thanksgiving, encouraging shoppers to stuff their carts shortly after gorging on turkey. Others, like Costco and Nordstrom, have resolved not to start the holiday shopping early. Wal-Mart is among the retailers opening on Thanksgiving, but it’s also trying to stretch the holiday season even earlier. In early November, it had Black Friday-level deals on seven electronics items, including a big-screen television, along with hundreds of deals in home décor. The National Retail Federation projects that sales will be up 3.9 percent in November and December, a higher figure than IBIS is predicting for the shorter Black Friday to Cyber Monday. That discrepancy could be related to retailers who are spacing out their offers.
Last year, the average consumer spent $423 during the post-turkey rush, according to the NRF. According to the circulars already posted on many websites, that’s one television, four DVDs, a board game, a SodaStream, winter outfits for the whole family, and a Razor scooter. Not a bad way to start off one’s holiday shopping.