New York Economy: Give Thanks to Thanksgiving Shopping

Thanksgiving used to just be about the food and the football.  In recent years that has expanded to the shopping.  And the trend just keeps getting stronger.  According to Adobe, online shoppers racked up a staggering $3.34 billion on Black Friday; this was 21.6 percent more than Black Friday 2015. Mobile devices were used for more of the deals than in past years.  It seemed like people were getting a head start of Cyber Monday, since, according to Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director at Adobe Digital Insights, the increased access to mobile devices was likely a significant contributing factor to shoppers using the Internet so early on in the festive season.  One major item that was significantly reduced in price was tablets, which gave shoppers the option of purchasing for an average 25.4 percent less.

Thanksgiving Day, as well as Wednesday 23rd were also times of high spending for New Yorkers and other shoppers throughout the nation.  In New York, security along Fifth Avenue was particularly tight, given the hordes of people expected to come for the sales.  While some salespeople had been complaining that sales had plummeted since the election, the Black Friday weekend sales have now turned this around. Indeed, America’s Research Group President, Britt Beemer, said: “I’m calling it the ‘Trump Effect,’” as he noted how many Americans were suddenly in the ‘spending mood.’  He further explained that: “Americans don’t feel any better about their job situation, they’re not better off, but the perception is that tomorrow things will get better.”

However, it seems that due to the huge discounts that were being offered over the holiday period, the economy fared less well.  Shoppers did their part – picking up lots of great new gadgets, etc. – but the spending per person was less due to the discounts they’ve come to expect. Indeed, according to a National Retail Federation survey, when all was said and done, year-on-year over the four day holiday period the average spending per person was 3.5 percent less than 2015 (coming in at $289.19).  This, despite the fact that there were more customers shopping than a year ago (around three million more).