Cautious optimism is opening the wallets of consumers again as we celebrate the slow rise out of a two year recession. November month end results were buoyed by Thanksgiving weekend sales, with surprise increases online both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, indications that early discounting and great offers by Amazon, Wal-Mart and Sears worked. Brick-and-mortar stores didn't fare as well, with sharp declines for many teen and luxury retailers, while discounters like Costco, Wal-Mart and TJ Maxx had increases over last year, both in sales and foot traffic. The message was loud and clear from consumers, "Give me a large discount or lose me as a customer". Traditional Black Friday sales were everywhere, but the retailers that won were discounting far beyond the standard 20%. Those that offered discounts in the 20-25%, like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Target, paid dearly for not being more aggressive.
The largest increases came from online purchases on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a trend that will only increase from year to year as technology savvy generations become a larger population of the buying public. It's no surprise that Monday, November 30th captured the prize for the most online sales since the term Cyber Monday was introduced several years ago, with Amazon increasing 28% , Walmart 22% and Apple 39% yr. over yr. Which begs the question, "Will brick and mortar stores be necessary in the future?". To many of the Kohl's and Borders online shoppers, the answer will be a resounding "YES!" due to the eight online failures that occurred within a 14 hour period on the Kohl's website and 16 failures on the Borders site, certainly costing them revenue. But consumer behavior is changing and for different reasons. More of the population is technology savvy, but equally as important, they are wiser to costs and prices of products.