Black Friday good for online retailers
The U.S. online retail sector delivered a strong comeback on Black
Friday, according to data released Saturday by Coremetrics, a marketing
optimization firm based in San Mateo, CA.
In a key indicator of economic well-being, the average value of each
online order jumped 35 per cent from the previous year – $170.19 in
2009 vs. $126.04 in 2008. Consumers also bought more items per order
this year – 5.40 vs. 4.56, an increase of over 18 per cent.
Coremetrics also had some interesting data on how consumers
behaved on retail web sites. The length of the average browsing session
decreased by 5 per cent, while the number of people who left a site
after viewing only one page (also known as the "bounce" rate) was up
almost 40 per cent.
When matched with the increased sales data, these stats suggest
the average consumer was more efficient in their online shopping
activity, perhaps buying against predetermined lists rather than just
"The healthy jump in the average amount of money people are
willing to spend online this year suggests consumers have adjusted
their shopping patterns to the reality of the economic downturn.
They're thriftier, they're savvier and every one of them wants to be
the best bargain hunter out there," said John Squire, chief strategy
Apparel and jewelry retailers appeared to be the big winners,
with the average online order value up 28.6 per cent and 25 per cent
respectively. While department stores also did a phenomenal job of
attracting new consumers to their sites (up 152 per cent), the value of
actual online orders decreased by 7.2 per cent, suggesting that
shoppers might be waiting for post-Black Friday discounts and special
offers.All-in-all, the initial online returns are encouraging. Black
Friday has always been an important barometer for the ensuing holiday
shopping season and the overall health of the economy. Although
retailers will be holding their breath until they get through the next
six weeks, there are some signs that the worst of the recession might
be behind them.