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Black Friday Grew – but Cyber Week Fell Behind – in 2021

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According to The NPD Group, Black Friday week sales revenue rose by 14%, year over year; while Cyber Week grew by just 3%.

The NPD Group has found that while average selling prices (ASP) increased by 10% during the week ending Dec. 4, Black Friday Week delivered a return to growth. Year-over-year unit volume rose by 3% and sales revenue increased by 14%.  

However, Cyber Week lost some potency compared to last year, despite only a 6% increase in ASP.  

This year's ASP increases during the promotional holiday weeks occurred on top of already-climbing numbers from 2020. Heavy Black Friday doorbuster promotions gave way to an emphasis on higher-priced items with lighter discounting.  

"Consumers are embracing a different kind of value, as they look to invest in higher-end, better-quality products," said Marshal Cohen, advisor, chief retail industry, NPD. "For now, retailers and manufacturers need to be proactive to effectively navigate what might come. This is the time to pull out all the stops on pricing and promotion plans – and do it from a place of preparation rather than panic." 

Cyber Week brought continued growth for discretionary retail sales in the U.S. However, it was well below the performance of Thanksgiving Week. Retail Early Indicator data from NPD shows discretionary general merchandise sales revenue in the U.S. increased 3% compared to the same week in 2020, and unit sales declined 3%. 

"Cyber Week 2021 followed a similar pattern to pre-pandemic years, demonstrating that the lack of a post-Black Friday lull in 2020 truly was an aberration," says Cohen. "High-momentum categories are starting to show some vulnerability, which is understandable given the headwinds at play. However, these categories may still show up with late holiday shoppers looking to take advantage of last-minute deals during the full week of shopping after Super Saturday on this year's calendar."  

 

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