Shoppers increasingly are shifting their buying to Thanksgiving Day, despite petitions against stores opening on the holiday — and the powerful lure of the post-turkey nap.
According to early estimates on Black Friday from Shoppertrak, sales at brick-and-mortar stores were down slightly to $12.29 billion in 2014 vs. $12.35 billion a year earlier. But spending was up nearly 24% on Thanksgiving, and slipped 6.9% on Black Friday, Shoppertrak found.
What’s more, people were more willing to trek to stores on Thanksgiving: Visits were up 27% on Thursday compared to 2013, but they were down 5.6% on Black Friday, according to Shoppertrak.
Still, shoppers spent nearly three times as much — $9.1 billion — on Black Friday than on Thursday, Shoppertrak estimates.
The trend was similar online, with shoppers increasingly willing to buy on Thanksgiving. Online sales were up 14.3% on Turkey Day compared to last year, according to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark report, but just 9.5% on Black Friday, less than expected.
Shoppers also are using their phones and tablets more than ever — both to buy and comparison-shop while in stores, IBM found.
Sales on mobile devices were up more than 28% from Black Friday last year, accounting for more than one in four online sales transactions Friday, IBM found.
IBM had projected online shopping would climb 15% for the period from Thanksgiving through Monday. It projected year-over-year growth of 13% on Black Friday.
Wal-Mart (, the world’s largest retailer, said it shattered sales records on Thanksgiving, posting its second-biggest online sales day. The company said its site saw over 500 million page views, and 70% came from mobile traffic. )
Overall, the National Retail Federation projected spending this season will climb 4.1% to $616.9 billion. It estimated online sales would grow between 8% and 11%.
Last year, holiday sales climbed 3.1%, according to the NRF.
The preliminary reports from Shoppertrak and IBM give an early peek at some of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Nowadays, there’s round after round of “door busters” and a slew of online sales that begin days before Friday. And most major retailers advertise “Black Friday” deals that actually begin Thanksgiving Thursday evening.