With the Thanksgiving shopping holidays in the rear view, retailers are hoping for a last burst of spending to round out the season.
Their prayers may soon be answered. Super Saturday—which takes place the weekend before Christmas—is projected to draw 147.8 million U.S. shoppers to stores, desktops and their mobile devices for last-minute deals on gifts and other holiday needs. That’s up from 134.3 million last year, according to data from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics.
While many consumers began making purchases earlier than Thanksgiving week this year, those who waited until Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be feeling the heat due to the compressed shopping season.
As of early December, the vast majority of shoppers (86 percent) had started their shopping, and more than half (52 percent) had completed their purchasing for the season. That still leaves 48 percent of active shoppers who have yet to check everyone off their list.
Over half of holiday shoppers (56 percent) plan to make their final buys the week before Christmas, and 62 percent are projected to shop on Super Saturday.
When it comes to gifts, clothing is expected to take the cake. Nearly half (49 percent) of shoppers who have already made purchases said they would be gifting apparel, while toys (31 percent) and gift cards (28 percent) have proven popular options as well.
Even after all the presents are unwrapped, consumers will still have an appetite for shopping.
NRF data showed that 68 percent of holiday shoppers also plan on spending during the week after Christmas, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.
Post-holiday sales and promotions are on the minds of many (49 percent). Spending their recently acquired gift cards is another objective for more than a quarter (27 percent) of shoppers. Gen Z consumers ages 18-24 are most likely to shop the week after Christmas, the survey revealed.
The holiday season, which NRF defines as ranging from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, is expected to pull in somewhere between $727.9 and $730.7 billion. The average consumer is expected to spend about $1,047—an increase of 4 percent over last year.
Newly released research from retail and technology advisory firm Coresight Research underscores the notion that consumers are spreading out their purchases over a lengthier period of time.
The group’s data showed Black Friday is no longer the single-biggest promotional day of the year—instead, it’s being diluted by Cyber Monday and other deals throughout the season.
Popular retailers may be rethinking their strategies around the shopping holiday, as this year’s data showed a tentative attitude around discounts.
On Amazon, men’s and women’s fashion products averaged discounts of approximately 13 percent on Black Friday, and about 12 percent on Cyber Monday.
On Cyber Monday, the proportion of women’s fashion items offered at a lower price on Amazon was actually higher, reaching about 17 percent—up from around 15 percent on Black Friday.
According to Coresight Research analysts, another interesting pattern emerged on Amazon this season. The massive online marketplace actually raised prices on certain items from the week before Thanksgiving.
On Black Friday, nearly 17 percent of women’s fashion items and about 18 percent of men’s fashion products saw increased prices, while on Cyber Monday, more than 20 percent of both men’s and women’s footwear and apparel was priced higher than the week prior.
At Macy’s, by contrast, about 59 percent of women’s footwear and apparel items were discounted on Black Friday, and nearly 50 percent saw price cuts on Cyber Monday. The average discount on women’s fashion peaked on Black Friday at around 35 percent, remaining nearly consistent through Cyber Monday.
Despite idiosyncratic discount strategies this season, the two holidays generated tremendous online sales. On Black Friday, U.S. brands and retailers generated $7.2 billion in digital revenue, up 14 percent from last year. And on Cyber Monday, e-commerce sales hit $9.4 billion, up nearly a fifth (19 percent) from last year.
Consumers’ penchant for shopping online has opened them up to increased risks, however.
According to research from data and risk management firm LexisNexis, the deals and offers available over Thanksgiving continue to attract more shoppers, resulting in a 48 percent global increase in transactions over last year.
The massive increase in online sales has led to the evolution of subversive methods used by criminals online.
This year saw an evolution in the technology that fraudsters are using to target new account creations on mobile apps, LexisNexis said, helping them to gain access to sensitive consumer information.
Consumers showed a considerable preference for making payments on mobile this year, with 64 percent of all transactions during Black Friday week taking place on smartphones. For one unnamed global payment processor, the mobile attack rate on payments doubled over that time frame.
While desktop purchases are still undoubtedly being targeted, fraud on mobile channels has increased by 12 percent in the past year alone.
Increases in online traffic also provide bad actors with cover for fraudulent transactions, allowing them to increase the value of their shopping carts (and use unsuspecting consumers’ information to check out) without sounding alarm bells.
The average value of the transactions that were rejected due to suspicion of fraud totaled $329—179 percent higher than most legitimate transactions, which average $118.
“Cybercriminals are opportunity seekers and travel paths of least resistance, shifting their focus based on consumer patterns,” Kim Sutherland, vice president of fraud and identity market planning at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said.
“As consumers ramp up their purchase volumes and increasingly utilize mobile devices to transact, data shows that fraudsters will likely continue to progressively target mobile and with higher dollar fraud,” she added.
In 2019, online privacy and securities firm the Digital Identity Network recorded attacks originating from Russia, Belarus, China, Vietnam, and South Korea, as well as the U.S.