Shoppers spent their holiday lined up outside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, by 4 p.m. Thursday, and the crowd had swelled to 3,000 people by the time doors opened at 5 a.m. Friday morning. In New York City, one woman went straight from a dance club to a department store in the middle of the night.
The Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday kickoff of the USA holiday shopping season showed the increasing preference for online purchases, as more Americans opted to stay home and use their smartphones while sales and traffic at brick-and-mortar stores declined.
Retailers including Target Corp., Walmart Inc. and Macy's have introduced "skip-the-line" technology, where employees help shoppers pay and check out from anywhere in the store. Much of the growth came from mobile users, who Adobe estimates accounted for more than 50 percent of traffic to e-commerce sites and almost 37 percent of total sales.
The holiday shopping season presents a big test for a United States economy, the overall growth of which has so far this year relied on a burst of consumer spending.
The result: For all of November and December, retail sales will reach $1.002 trillion, a 5.8 percent increase from past year and the first time they'll cross the $1-trillion mark, the research firm EMarketer estimates.
With the jobless rate at a five-decade low of 3.7 percent and consumer confidence at an 18-year high, analysts project healthy sales increases for November and December.
Early numbers showed overall retail sales, both in stores and online, were in line with expectations, according to Mastercard's SpendingPulse retail report. Over the past 12 months, purchases at non-store retailers such as Amazon have jumped 12.1 percent. "We are watching the next edition of Black Friday, a more civilized and opportunistic edition".
J. Crew's website crashed on Black Friday. Walmart announced today it would use savings from the recently revised tax law to increase their starting wage to $11-per-hour, offer some hourly employees a one-time bonus up to $1000, expand maternity and parental leave benefits and will begin to offer adoption assistance. She was drawn to the mall Friday morning for the deals, and for the quiet of shopping without her still-sleeping kids.
You're not imagining it: Black Friday is only getting bigger. At a Target in Chicago, 35-year-old Tara James said she came out to get two Phone XS models - one for herself and one for husband - plus the free $250 gift card they came with.
In 2017, brick-and-mortar sales were down 8.9 per cent for the weekend year-over-year, and shopper traffic fell 4.4 per cent. I enjoyed the Black Friday shopping experience so far. "That's why I came out and I am glad I got what I needed and got out cause it's insane".
"Most retailers, I would say, would really rather not do it if they felt they could", he said.