Consumers proved yet again that retail is alive and well. And for furniture retailers, there are lots of lessons to take away from the recent Thanksgiving holiday.
The NRF (National Retail Federation) reported that more than 165 million Americans shopped in stores or online from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. While impressive, this was actually less than last year’s 174 million shoppers. The decrease in shoppers could be credited to retailers starting their holiday discounts earlier in the month, which has been an increasing trend each year. Shoppers have come to expect deep discounts as soon as the calendar flips to November – and with retailers releasing their deals all month long, fewer shoppers feel the pressure to save during the five big days of Thanksgiving weekend only.
Despite fewer shoppers, the 165 million shoppers this year still managed to shatter sales records throughout the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday time period. In this year’s holiday shopping report, Adobe Analytics reported $6.2 billion in online Black Friday sales, up nearly 24% from last year. Cyber Monday sales, at $7.9 billion, became the largest online shopping day of all time in the United States. Thanksgiving Day, while driving smaller sales in comparison, still managed to grow by 28% year-over-year with $3.7 billion in sales.
These staggering sales numbers continue to reinforce the shift in consumer preferences for online shopping: the NRF reported that 25% of consumers shopped exclusively online, while 54% shopped both online and in stores. But while ecommerce sales continue to boom each year, traditional retail stores remain a staple for consumers throughout the entire weekend, with forward-thinking retailers blending their online and brick-and-mortar experiences seamlessly.
Key retailers like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s tapped into omnichannel advantages like digital maps on smartphones, and provided consumers even greater flexibility with Buy Online, Pickup In-Store offerings, which saw a record 50% increase year-over-year according to Adobe.
Adobe also reported strong mobile performance, which hit $2.2 billion in sales; Black Friday alone saw 33.5% of sales come from mobile devices, suggesting that the work retailers have done to drive enhanced mobile experiences has paid off. Social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat have also made it simple for consumers to shop directly from their phones.
So what does all this record-breaking momentum mean for furniture retailers? For those forward-thinking retailers, many were able to capitalize on a strong mobile experience or online-only presence to drive ecommerce sales. According to Furniture Today, Wayfair increased sales by 58% year-over-year during the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday time period. Wayfair’s CEO and co-founder, Niraj Shah explained, “We see the overall cadence of holiday shopping changing with online becoming the clear leader throughout the holiday weekend, driving outsized growth.” To put this online sales momentum into perspective, Wayfair reported selling a sofa every nine seconds during the five-day time period.
Furniture Today also noted that despite the continual shift to online spending, many furniture stores reported an “excellent start to the holiday season…with promotions that drew increased sales and showroom traffic,” suggesting that although ecommerce shopping continues to rise, many consumers want to take advantage of the brick-and-mortar experience a traditional furniture retailer offers. With furniture retail being a uniquely omnichannel experience, the industry is perfectly poised to continue shattering records of its own for many holiday seasons to come.
Furniture retailers on the Blueport platform had a very healthy holiday sales period. Our trends echo the broader retail industry with mobile traffic and mobiles sales hitting all-time highs. Additionally, we saw retailers focusing on leveraging their websites as their flagship store to drive consumer engagement early in the buying process. The result? You’ll have to ask our clients!
As you think about 2019, ask yourself if you’re delivering the right Omnichannel experience to meet the needs of your customers and to keep you ahead of your competition. Give us a call to learn more – we’d love to chat!