Black Friday Loses Its Luster

Black Friday kicked off on Gray Thursday once again this year, though it was clearly a more widespread event among retailers. Spending growth leaped to 9.0% over Black Friday and Gray Thursday but most of that growth came from shoppers getting out and spending on Thanksgiving. So is Black Friday losing its luster? Looks like it. On Black Friday, growth was only 4.5%, which proves that consumers don't mind cutting their Thanksgiving dinner short if it helps their holiday budgets. Thanks to extended store hours and doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving, the annual shopping frenzy was a more leisurely affair than anticipated.

As always, consumers zeroed-in on electronics. The holiday ad blitz on tech toys like tablets, cell phones and new gaming consoles boosted the Electronics retail sub-category by 9.1% while Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book and Music Stores grew 27.3% on strong sales of athletic apparel. Retail average ticket growth was a healthy 3.8% compared to 1.9% last year, and overall transaction growth was 4.9% as the cold and brisk weather in most states was perfect for holiday shopping.

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Rishi Chhabra is vice president of information and analytics solutions at First Data.