Advice for Retailers

2010 Retail Holiday Shopping Statistics

The holidays are over, but the big question on everyone's mind is whether Santa was good to the U.S. retail sector.

The 2010 holiday retail season has been celebrated as a smashing success for the retail sector.

Holiday shoppers turned out in droves, giving retail a much-needed boost after consecutive years of declining holiday sales figures.

But before you base 2011 plans on 2010 holiday figures, you need to go beyond the hype and take a closer look at actual 2010 retail holiday shopping statistics. Although the numbers were generally encouraging, the holiday season also generated some sales stats that may be a concern for 2011 and beyond.

  • Black Friday sales. Retail shoppers spent $10.69 billion on Black Friday 2010. Black Friday weekend sales were $45 billion, up from $41.2 billion in 2009. For many retailers, this signaled a healthy start to the 2010 holiday shopping season.
  • Cyber Monday sales. At $1.028 billion, Cyber Monday 2010 entered the history books as the first day online sales exceeded the $1 billion threshold. Translation: Online retailing isn't the future - it is a present reality for growth-conscious retailers.
  • Same store sales. Same-store sales were a mixed bag this season. While many retailers reported respectable same-store gains, brands like Target, Aeropostale, Gap, Best Buy, and Old Navy reported anemic sales or even same-store sale losses. Although these numbers weren't reflected in overall retail sales figures, they could indicate weaknesses in the business models of specific brands.
  • Total online sales. Total online holiday sales came in at $36.4 billion, a 15.4% increase over 2009 numbers. During the holiday shopping season, there were six days when sales exceeded the $1 billion threshold - a statistic that didn't go unnoticed by retailers.
  • Mobile device sales. According to surveys, 52% of smartphone users intended to use their devices for price comparisons during the shopping season and 40% intended to use their device to read product reviews. With 4% of all Cyber Monday shoppers using their devices to make purchases on that day, mobile devices will play a major role in retail in the coming year.
  • Day after Christmas sales. A staggering 43% of consumers planned to make a purchase on December 26th. This could consumers' willingness to part with their cash - but only to the extent that they perceive the kinds of values that appear in post-Christmas discounting.

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