Covid-19 also ruined Black Friday in the United States

Half as many Americans as last year have come to shop in recent days.

From our correspondent in Washington

Hunting for discounts in American malls the day after Thanksgiving Thursday has long been a national sport. But this year the Covid-19 got the better of “Black Friday”, just like the rest of the frantic shopping weekend. We can thus see that half as many Americans as last year have traveled to shop in recent days.

And for good reason: the rat race in dense crowds, agglutinated in department stores, characteristic of the first days of shopping marking the start of the end-of-year shopping season, is the very antithesis of the advocated social distancing by US authorities.

On the other hand, online purchases jumped at the same time by 22%, according to Adobe Analytics. Black Friday alone represented $9 billion in sales this year for Amazon and its followers. This last Monday of November which follows the traditional “Black Friday” is called “Cybermonday”. It aims historically to reproduce the frenzy triggered by the exceptional discounts of department stores the day after Thanksgiving.

2019 record of $9.4 billion

This year, the report on e-commerce having started on Thursday, “Cybermonday” is relatively less attractive. One could even say that this day actually started four days earlier. In a few hours we will know if the record of 9.4 billion dollars in online sales, reached during the 2019 edition of Cybermonday has been beaten in 2020.

In terms no longer of the number of visitors, but from the point of view of the volume of sales, the decline is certainly less dramatic, but spectacular: it is of the order of 30% for all categories of items combined. It was in the clothing, footwear and jewelry departments that the declines were the sharpest, with plunges of more than 50% according to RetailNext.

It is far too early to assess year-end sales in the United States. However, two new trends are emerging and making traders optimistic. The first relates to the lengthening of the promotion period.

Now Americans are starting to buy their Christmas gifts in October. Confined, they had more time to do so in 2020. They also wanted to prevent problems with late deliveries. The surge in online commerce has created bottlenecks in home delivery networks. The US Post, in particular, has not yet overcome the trauma of the pandemic. As for delivery people, they are sometimes just as difficult to recruit as it has become complicated to also find delivery vans…

A second unexpected trend, especially in the current context of crisis and high unemployment: Americans whose incomes have not suffered too much are spending more and more on goods, insofar as they now travel very little and no longer go out restaurant or cinema. This explains why the National Retail Federation, a professional body for retail traders, is counting on an increase in end-of-year purchases this year between 3.6% and 5.2%.

These gains compare to a historical average of 3.5%, not to mention that last year, before the pandemic hit, Americans euphoric about near-full employment spent 4% more than in 2018.


SEE ALSO – The director of Amazon France Frédéric Duval announces the postponement of Black Friday to December 4

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