Black Friday is expected to be the biggest shopping day of the holiday season, instead of the Saturday before Christmas. That’s according to ShopperTrak, the world’s largest counter and analyzer of retail foot traffic.
The numbers will be helped along by Black Friday sales starting earlier this year than ever– as retailers open their doors Thanksgiving evening, despite some employee complaints.
“Retailers are responding to an interest that consumers really have. Especially if see them really lining up at midnight the day after Thanksgiving. As we pushed Black Friday further and further back, we’re responding to that convenience factor that consumers are looking for,” Edwards says.
At the same time, more businesses are competing for less money.
“The average shoppers have said they expect to spend about $741 during the holiday season,” says Edwards. “That’s not a big chunk of money when you look at it, dividing your resources over almost a 60 day shopping period. So, I think retailers know they’ve got to get into the game early.”
Another reason Edwards cites: the long lines and crushing crowds from previous years that became safety issues.
While Black Friday’s weekend sales continue to trend up since the recession, Edwards says shoppers are being much more thrifty these days.
“The consumer is very value and convenience oriented…looking for basics and staples, not a whole lot of luxury items, still in the thrift mode. Maybe not the thrift mode as in price is everything, but really looking for the value in their dollars,” she says.
That partly explains the expected 15 percent boost in online sales over the weekend alone, not including Cyber Monday, when shoppers try to find better deals online than they see in the stores
Black Friday national sales were $11.4 billion last year, and this year are expected to reach $11.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail association.
Edwards says South Carolina should see $23.6 million of that , according to how the state trends to national figures.