Diluted by all the sales that started in mid-October and accelerated in early November, Black Friday weekend didn’t quite show its true color this year.

The big weekend’s deals were marginal.
Doorbusters were generally absent, apart from a few rebate and coupon code offers. The occasional deep discount popped up, but most leveled out at 25% off.

Lots was missing, but mostly a sense of urgency.  
Consumers had no worries about being able to get that hot product or limited-supply item (with the one exception of video game consoles).

Online was where the action was this Black Friday weekend.
Better deals could be found online, where it was easier for consumers to know what was on sale and for how much. Layer on the increasing power of the younger generations and their propensity to shop online, and we have a new holiday shopping dynamic.  

Will Cyber Monday deliver more spending or just the aftermath of early endless promotions?
With 82% of consumers planning to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year and planning to allocate more of their holiday shopping budget to online purchases than last year, the potential is there for more activity. But just like the rest of retail’s holiday shopping events this year, holiday sales, both online and in-store, are likely to be spread out across the season, rather than concentrated into a single significant peak. Consumer shopping behavior and retailer promotional activity are both contributing to this new holiday narrative.

Stay tuned for Circana’s retail sales results in the coming days to see how these key holiday weeks actually performed!

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