While bricks and mortar retailers and malls may have decided to put their aggressive discounts on hold for the time being, seemingly content with their market share (losses), online retailers - and one in particular - continue to make staggering gains.
Preliminary reports for Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales point to a promising start to the holiday shopping season, and once again, it is a story of online spending rather than brick and mortar. According to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 online retailers, online sales were up by 17.9% yoy for the two-day period. Moreover, according to BofA, there continues to be a shift toward mobile devices, with Commerce marketing firm Criteo finding that 40% of Black Friday online purchases were on mobile phones, up from 29% last year.
Speaking to Bloomberg TV, First Data President Guy Chiarello said the first 3 hours of Cyber Monday were “unbelievably robust,” with 40% more e-commerce traffic than yesterday, 30% more than a year ago.
In contrast, according to Bank of America, most indications suggest that activity was down at stores. ShopperTrak found that store traffic fell by about 1%.
To observe overall shopping trends, BofA said that it will be examining the BAC credit and debit card data for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday period to come up with its own proxy for the health of the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Also on Tuesday, we will hear from the National Retail Federation (NRF) with their sales numbers. As a reminder, the National Retail Federation has been forecasting holiday sales to be up between 3.6 and 4.0% yoy, which means that online spending will have to pick up drastically to offset the decline at traditional retailers. As of the latest Census data in October, core control retail sales (retail sales ex-food services, autos, gasoline and building materials) - which is considered a proxy for holiday sales - is running at a 3.4% yoy pace. The consumer has been spending at a modest pace throughout this year, which is likely to persist into the holiday season, amid healthy levels of consumer confidence and strong wealth effects.
And while we wait for further data, the market is willing to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt, and this morning has sent AMZN stock price over $1,200 for the first time ever, pushing Bezos' net worth further in the "$100 billion club."