Black Friday 2011 spending sets new record

Early reports from three separate firms suggest that Black Friday retail sales set a new record in 2011. Online sales growth was massive according to estimates from both IBM and comScore; the former reported on Saturday that online Black Friday sales grew 24.3% over 2010 and total Black Friday spending rose 39.3% over last year. Meanwhile, comScore’s data shows that online spending this past Friday grew 26% from Black Friday 2010 to $816 million. Offline, market research firm ShopperTrak said retail foot traffic rose 5.1% year-over-year on Black Friday 2011, and spending was up 6.6% to a record $11.4 billion. “This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006,” ShopperTrak CEO Bill Martin said in a statement. “Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season.” Press releases from both IBM and comScore follow below.

Record Online Thanksgiving Day Shopping Paves Way for Strong Black Friday Retail Sales, Reports IBM

Mobile Devices Including the iPhone and iPad Account for 14.3 Percent Of All Black Friday Online Retail Traffic

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –U.S. shoppers took advantage of early sales this holiday driving a 39.3 percent increase in online Thanksgiving day spending while setting the stage for 24.3 percent online growth on Black Friday compared to the same period last year, according to cloud-based analytics findings by IBM (NYSE: IBM).

As part of IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, IBM’s online retail benchmark study reveals the following trends as of 12:00 am PST:

  • Consumer Spending Increases: Strong Thanksgiving shopping carried over into Black Friday with online sales increasing 24.3 percent annually.
  • The Mobile Bargain Hunter: Black Friday witnessed the arrival of the mobile deal seeker who embraced their devices as a research tool for in-store and online bargains. Mobile traffic increased to 14.3 percent on Black Friday 2011 compared to 5.6 percent in 2010.
  • Mobile Sales: Sales on mobile devices surged to 9.8 percent from 3.2 percent year over year.
  • The Apple Shopper: Mobile shopping was led by Apple, with the iPhone and iPad ranking one and two for consumers shopping on mobile devices (5.4 percent and 4.8 percent respectively). Android came in third at 4.1 percent. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 10.2 percent of all online retail traffic on Black Friday.
  • The iPad Factor: Shoppers using the iPad led to more retail purchases more often per visit than other mobile devices with conversion rates reaching 4.6 percent compared to 2.8 percent for overall mobile devices.
  • Surgical Shopping Goes Mobile: Mobile shoppers demonstrated a laser focus that surpassed that of other online shoppers with a 41.3 percent bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping rates of 33.1 percent.
  • The Social Influence: Shoppers referred from Social Networks generated 0.53 percent of all online sales on Black Friday. Facebook led the pack, accounting for 75 percent of all traffic from social networks.
  • Social Media Chatter: Boosted by a 110 percent increase in discussion volume compared to 2010, top discussion topics on social media sites immediately before Friday showed a focus on the part of consumers to share tips on how to avoid the rush. Topics included out-of-stock concerns, waiting times and parking, and a spike in positive sentiment around Cyber-Monday sales.

“This year marked Thanksgiving’s emergence as the first big spending day of the 2011 holiday season with a record number of consumers shifting their focus from turkey to tablets and the search for the best deals,” said John Squire, Chief Strategy Officer, IBM Smarter Commerce. “This momentum continued into Black Friday where the big winners were those retailers that delivered a smarter commerce experience with compelling, relevant deals that people could easily access from their channel of choice.”

Online Retail Categories

  • Department stores once again offered a vast array of compelling deals and promotions that caught the attention of consumers. As a result, department stores sales were up 59.0 percent from this time last year.
  • Home goods also reported a 48.8 percent increase in sales from Black Friday 2010, an indication that many consumers are shifting their attention toward the home this holiday season.
  • Apparel sales were also strong this holiday with Black Friday numbers showing an increase of 47.2 percent over 2010.
  • Health and Beauty sales were strong as consumers showed a desire to pamper themselves this year. On Black Friday, online sales were up 34.2 percent year over year.

Today’s news is based on finding from the IBM Coremetrics fourth annual Black Friday Benchmark which tracks more than a million transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers nationwide. With this data IBM helps retailers better understand and respond to their customers – across the organization – improving sourcing, inventory management, marketing, sales, and services programs.

Black Friday Boasts $816 Million in U.S. Online Holiday Spending, Up 26 Percent vs. Year Ago

More than 50 Million Americans Visited Online Retail Sites on Black Friday

Thanksgiving Day Online Spending Jumps 18 Percent to $479 Million

RESTON, VA, November 27, 2011 – comScore (NASDAQ : SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today reported U.S. retail e-commerce spending for the first 25 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season. For the holiday season-to-date, $12.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. Black Friday (November 25) saw $816 million in online sales, making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2011 and representing a 26-percent increase versus Black Friday 2010. Thanksgiving Day (November 24), while traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 18-percent increase to $479 million.

2011 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2010
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Millions ($)
2010 2011 Percent Change
November 1 – 25 $11,093 $12,737 15%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) $407 $479 18%
Black Friday (Nov. 25) $648 $816 26%

*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (November 2 thru November 26, 2010)

“Despite some analysts’ predictions that the flurry of brick-and-mortar retailers opening their doors early for Black Friday would pull dollars from online retail, we still saw a banner day for e-commerce with more than $800 million in spending,” said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. “With brick-and-mortar retail also reporting strong gains on Black Friday, it’s clear that the heavy promotional activity had a positive impact on both channels. We now turn our attention to Cyber Monday, a day that Shop.org says will see eight-in-ten retailers running special online promotions. Last year, Cyber Monday was the heaviest day of online spending ever, with sales exceeding $1 Billion, and we fully expect to see another record set this year.”

Black Friday Bargains Boost Web Browsing Behavior

As the online channel increasingly influences offline shopping behavior, consumers turned to Black Friday sites on the web to conduct research in advance of the day’s events. comScore analyzed several Black Friday deal sites for the five days ending Black Friday (Nov. 21-25, 2011) compared to the corresponding days last year, finding that bfads.net led the pack with 3.9 million unique visitors, up 51 percent versus last year. TheBlackFriday.com followed with 3.2 million visitors while also posting the strongest year-over-year growth at 137 percent.

Unique Visitors to Selected Sites Featuring Black Friday Deals
Nov. 21-25, 2011 vs. Nov. 22-26, 2010
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Unique Visitors (000)
Nov. 22-26, 2010 Nov. 21-25, 2011 Percent Change
bfads.net 2,607 3,926 51%
theblackfriday.com 1,364 3,234 137%
blackfriday2011.com* 1,612 1,854 15%
blackfriday.com 668 621 -7%
blackfriday.fm 399 532 33%
gottadeal.com 270 424 57%

*Site was known as BlackFriday2010.com in 2010

Amazon Ranks #1 Among Online Retailers on Black Friday

Fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, representing an increase of 35 percent versus year ago. Each of the top five retail sites achieved double-digit gains in visitors vs. last year, led by Amazon. Walmart ranked second, followed by Best Buy, Target and Apple.

Most Visited Retailer Properties on Black Friday
Excludes Auction Sites (e.g. eBay)
Black Friday 2011 vs. Black Friday 2010
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.
Retail Property
1 Amazon
2 Walmart
3 Best Buy
4 Target
5 Apple

“Each of the top online retailers generated significantly greater Black Friday activity compared to last year,” added Mr. Fulgoni. “Amazon.com once again led the pack, with 50 percent more visitors than any other retailer, while also showing the highest growth rate versus last year. However, it is telling that the top multi-channel retailers also showed strong growth in visitors, demonstrating the importance of the online channel to the retail industry as a whole.”

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