Leading up to Black Friday, some industry experts had tepid anticipation for what the holiday shopping day would bring to retailers across the nation. With ongoing online promotions overshadowing Black Friday, they wondered if it still carried the same weight as it had in years past.

For ShopperTrak, the leading global provider of shopper insights and analytics, overall retail spending for November and December was seen as a mixed bag. The group forecasted that 10 percent fewer shoppers would visit brick-and-mortar stores as compared to 2012 with an 11.5 percent decrease in traffic to electronics and appliance stores. Those expectations were tempered with a 5 percent rise in the apparel and accessories category over 2012.

And as it turns out, they were right – as far as in-store Black Friday sales were concerned. In an article published by Bloomberg, sales on Friday fell 13.2 percent from last year, with foot traffic down 11.4 percent. Much of that could be attributed to shoppers getting an early start on the abbreviated shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With overall consumer purchasing habits shifting, foot traffic is taking a tumble.

But, Cyber Monday sales came to the rescue for retailers. According to figures from IBM, online sales grew 16.5 percent compared to last year. In another report from IBM, highlights from Cyber Monday detailed the uptick in online purchases:

  • Mobile traffic grew to 31.7 percent of all online traffic, increasing by 45 percent over 2012. Mobile sales were also strong, exceeding 17 percent of total online sales, an increase of 55.4 percent year-over-year.
  • Smartphones drove 19.7 percent of all online traffic compared to tablets at 11.5 percent, making it the browsing device of choice. When it comes to making the sale, tablets drove 11.7 percent of all online sales, more than double that of smartphones, which accounted for 5.5 percent. On average, tablet users spent $126.30 per order compared to smartphone users who spent $106.49.

Despite the numbers, some online shoppers still had to exert a little extra effort to get their purchases processed. As shoppers logged into websites from home Monday night, some retailer websites were experiencing an overload in traffic, causing shoppers to receive error notices.

Regardless of the technical difficulties, buyers bought and retailers let out a big sigh of relief. So much so, that Cyber Monday has been extended throughout the week for many retailers. Stores like Target are offering Cyber Week deals, drawing in shoppers beyond the Black Weekend.

Taking the results into consideration, retailers will need to beef up their websites for next year’s holiday shopping season even more. Whether consumers are shopping in-store on Thanksgiving or Black Friday or shopping digitally in the days to follow, online showrooming will help cost-conscious individuals plan out their purchases and stick to their budgets.

To ensure that your website is robust for next year’s holiday shoppers, reach out to the team at NetSphere Strategies. We have a long-running background working with retailers to boost both their online and in-store sales.