News Feature | December 18, 2017

Black Friday Is Dead; Long live Black November.

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Tell Us About 2016

Retailers adjust to new reality of Black November as purchases spread across holiday season.

Not surprisingly, Amazon sellers saw an uptick in sales around this Thanksgiving, experiencing 140 percent in growth on Black Friday compared to a typical day, and 230 percent on Cyber Monday. However, while this growth is still huge, it isn’t as strong compared to last year. According to analysis by
Feedvisor, an algorithmic and machine learning solution for marketplace sellers, third-party Amazon seller growth was down nearly 18 percent from Black Friday and 12 percent from Cyber Monday last year.  

This data speaks to the trend that holiday shopping is no longer limited to these isolated days, as online marketplaces and retailers increasingly give consumers more deals throughout the entire month of November.

"It's no longer Black Friday," Marshal Cohen, the head retail analyst at NPD Group, told The Boston Globe. "It's now Black November."

In their bid to win over customers, retailers increasingly spread sales and discounts throughout the month, which has led to November becoming a shopping extravaganza. Adobe Analytics found that online sales from November 1 through 22 totaled almost $30.4 billion this year, accounting for nearly 18 percent year-over-year growth. In fact, every day in November witnessed over $1 billion in online sales, creating a new paradigm for shoppers and retailers.

Brian Field, senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak, told CNN, "There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail, and the fact that shopper visits remained intact on Black Friday illustrates that physical retail is still highly relevant and, when done right, profitable.”, Despite this optimism, in-store foot traffic on both Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day was actually down nearly 2 percent compared to the same two days last year. Field says that's likely because "a greater number of brick-and-mortar retailers opted to close on Thanksgiving Day."

Salesforce figures found that Black Friday remains one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but it now shares the spotlight with Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and the two weekend days in between. Thanksgiving is now the third-biggest shopping day of the year, behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday,  and online spending on Thanksgiving was up 29 percent over 2016, whereas last year it increased only 17 percent over 2015, suggesting that the holiday is quickly becoming a shopping event.

In an email, Feedvisor’s VP of Marketing, Claudia Hoeffner explained, "As Amazon expands to a focus on promotions throughout November this holiday, Cyber Monday and Black Friday continued to see record spikes in sales. Our data indicates that while sales have been steadily up in November, Black Friday drew sales nearly two and a half times a normal day and Cyber Monday saw sales more than three times higher than a normal day. With Cyber Monday sales across the board seeing record highs there are major opportunities for sellers to capitalize on this growth throughout the rest of the shopping season."