Thursday, January 12, 2012

Update on Black Friday vs. Holiday Sales

Two reports related to holiday spending were released this morning - retail sales for December and an estimate of holiday sales from the National Retail Federation.  We can now begin to update a post from late November which considered whether Black Friday Sales were a good predictor of holiday sales.  Below is a chart showing the growth in Black Friday sales according to Shopper Track and the growth in Holiday Sales according to the National Retail Federation from 2006 to the present, both in nominal terms and adjusted for inflation using the PCE index (in parentheses).  The final column shows the growth in the consumption component of GDP for the fourth quarter (initial estimate to be released later this month):

Black Friday
Holiday Sales
Consumption Q4
+6.6% (+4.0%)
 +4.1% (+1.5%)
+0.3% (-1.0%)
+5.2% (+3.9%)
+0.5% (-1.0%)
-0.4% (-1.9%)
+3% (+1.3%)
-2.8% (-4.5%)
+8% (+4.5%)
+2.4% (-1.1%)
+6% (+4.1%)
+4.6% (+2.7%)

Black Friday sales now have outperformed holiday sales in 5 out of the last 6 years (the exception being 2010).  This year in particular, it appears that consumers front loaded their holiday spending, as retail sales only increased by 0.1% in December, declining slightly after adjusting for inflation.