It’s no secret that I consider the U.S. consumer to be one of the biggest drivers of the economic recovery, so if you’ve been following my recommendations chances are you have a retailer or two in your portfolio. If that’s the case, you’ll want to keep reading because today I’m following up on Black Friday week (yes, you read that correctly) sales; the results have given us good indication about what to expect for the rest of the season.
This year, more U.S. shoppers decided to spend Black Friday behind their laptops rather than brave the in-store crowds. Last weekend, 102 million consumers spent $20.4 billion at brick-and-mortar stores. While this was a 10.4% decrease from a year ago, online sales more than made up for it.
Over that same period, 103 million Americans decided to shop online instead, spending a total $8.3 billion. This represents a 17% increase over a year ago. Better yet, American consumers really stepped up on Cyber Monday, shelling out a record $3 billion on deals online. Web traffic was so heavy on Target Corp.‘s (TGT) website that it crashed several items.
The past several days demonstrated that plenty of bargain hunters preferred to shop from the convenience of their computers at home (or in many cases, work).
And while Black Friday’s in-store sales may have declined, this is still shaping up to be a busy holiday shopping season. Last year, Christmas Eve was actually the busiest shopping day of the year; December 23 came in second. Analysts are looking for a 3.5% increase in holiday sales over last year. Between lower gasoline prices, the stronger dollar and improving hiring, American consumers are more willing to spend their hard-earned dollars this year.
I expect the American consumer to continue to drive the economy, so I have several retailers that I’m recommending in my Blue Chip Growth letter. Current members can view the complete Buy List at any time. If you’re not currently a Blue Chip Growth subscriber, stay tuned to this daily blog, because I will be featuring a few of my top retail picks over the next few weeks.