NPD Releases Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends Report

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Lessons Learned From Black Friday 2011

Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

Can every Friday be a Black Friday? The Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends* report from leading market research provider, The NPD Group, Inc., takes a look at the performance of the most recent two Fridays (Black Friday, 11/25/11 vs. the prior Friday, 11/18/11.) As expected it shows increases in the number of shoppers in the market, and average spend per visit. It also shows growth in online share of buying visits.

Black Friday brick & mortar shopping visits grew 84 percent compared to the previous Friday’s shopping visits, the largest increase seen for any single Friday since the weekly reporting began

See Chart: Brick & Mortar Shopping Visits

According to Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends Report the average amount spent per shopping visit grew by 46 percent compared to the previous Friday and was another record setting Friday.

Black Friday also brought a significant increase in online activity. For Friday, November 25, 2011 (Black Friday), online share of buying visits jumped by 57% compared to Friday the prior week (-2 percent).

See Chart: Online Share of Buying Visits

However, Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends report shows that there was a decline in shopping conversion on Black Friday. Brick & mortar retailers experienced a 15% decline in shopping conversion compared to the previous Friday.

“While traffic was clearly up for Black Friday, and retailers would really like to be able to repeat the success of Black Friday every Friday during the holiday season without giving away the ‘store’ (so to speak), what we are finding is that the consumer clearly responds to the promise of a great deal,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

See Chart: Brick & Mortar Conversion Rate

“While retailers will have an increase in the numbers of shoppers and visits made to their stores as we enter the 2011 holiday season, we do expect to see lower rates in shopping conversion as we progress through these next weeks,” said Cohen, “We can base this not only on first-hand observation but also on historical trends we’ve found in
Shopping Activity Services^.”

“What lessons have we learned and how can retailers find the right mix of promotions and generate the same level of excitement that brings higher levels of conversion in these next weeks?” asked Cohen, “Based on the results and the lessons of history, I think what is needed is the constant use of social media combined with special offers, different hours and even the getting the ‘right product at the right price’ messages out there. Consumers are not easily swayed just by a window sign or an in-store markdown. What really creates the buzz, and the Black Friday frenzy, is the crowd and the feeling of the treasure hunt all while they snag that great deal. It’s the experience not just the promise of a low price.”

*The Shopping Activity Weekly Holiday Trends is special report from The NPD Group, Inc.’s Shopping Activity Service. The Shopper Activity Weekly Holiday Trends report will follow the weekly holiday shopping trends over the course of the 2011 holiday retail season and will be released weekly. ^Shopping Activity Services is a study fielded to 4,750 U.S. consumers daily. It captures brick and mortar shopping behavior and online purchase behavior in categories from Apparel to Entertainment to Groceries to Video Games. In response to demand for more granular data this report has been enhanced as of November 7, 2011 and the data was been restated to reflect that enhancement. The result is a shift in the actual values however the directionality of the results remains in-tact.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit, or follow us Twitter at and Become a fan of Marshal Cohen at and watch more on NPD’s YouTube channel.


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