Despite Decline in Black Friday Spending and Foot Traffic, NRF Remains Bullish
According to its annual Black Friday consumer survey conducted in the middle of the holiday shopping weekend, the National Retail Federation found that 165 million American shoppers went online or in stores to try to take advantage of deep discounts on popular gifts and gadgets. That figure surpassed the 164 million that indicated their intentions to shop prior to the Black Friday weekend, but it fell around 9 million short of last year’s total, the association said, during a call with the media on Tuesday afternoon.
Additionally, NRF reported that the average spend on gifts and other holiday items over the five-day weekend checked in at $313.29, down from last year’s average of $335.47. Despite those declining numbers, the group remains confident that the retail industry is poised for another strong year. In fact, NRF said during the call that it expects its holiday forecast of a sales increase for the November-December time period of between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent to come in on the high end of that scale.
“For several years, we’ve been talking about the dynamic nature of the retail industry and the speed of change necessary to meet the consumer demand,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “This year’s research clearly shows that the investments made by retailers are paying off in a big way. Over the last couple of days, what I heard in discussions with retail CEOs across all categories and segments was very positive, driven by macro conditions of low unemployment and rising wages combined with the right mix of merchandise at great prices. This is a very strong emotional start to the holiday season and a positive indicator of where we are headed over the next month.”