The Markets


In 2006, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year was ‘You.’ The magazine declared that 2006 was about: 

“…Community and collaboration on a scale never seen before… It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.” 

Last week, in America,  J.P. Morgan named EVERYONE the winner of the “Most Promotional Retailer Award.” While communities across America are very interested in Black Friday sales, these events are less about empowerment and more about brawling for consumer goods. It’s a popular activity. In fact, a case could be built that one of the newest Thanksgiving holiday traditions involves the telling of riveting Black Friday (and now Thanksgiving Day) tales that describe retail shopping bravado and adventure.

Meanwhile, in the U.K. a 16% rise in online sales in November, supported by shoppers hunting for discounts on Black Friday, has boosted British retailers battling against cautious consumer spending.

UK retail sales increased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis and 2.3% in total in November compared to the same month last year, with more than half of the growth in non-food sales coming from online shopping, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG’s monthly survey. 

Online sales now account for 19.9% of UK retail and are likely to break through the 20% mark as consumers buy their Christmas presents online this year.

Retailers were hoping that festive spending would be kick-started on Monday by “Cyber Monday”, the day when online sales traditionally spike in the UK as consumers buy Christmas presents. 

Analysts estimated that as much as £500m could have been spent online on Cyber Monday, more than four times the daily average. 

In the U.S, sales on the year’s biggest shopping weekend dipped for the first time in seven years, according to the National Retail Federation.

US consumers spent around $1.7bn less over the holiday weekend, with the average shopper spending $407.02 from Thursday to Sunday.

That’s down from $423.55 in 2012.

Retailers blamed stagnant wages and economic uncertainty for keeping wallets shut, as they slashed prices to lure reluctant shoppers.

In total, the National Retail Federation estimates that US shoppers spent around $57.4bn this year, down 2.7% from $59.1bn last year.

Sales on Black Friday itself were down, as retailers opened stores on Thanksgiving Thursday and offered more details earlier in the week to entice shoppers.

According to ShopperTrack, a market research firm, Black Friday foot traffic was down 11% and sales slumped by 13%.