Economy Watch: Retailers Enjoy Solid Black Friday

While there is a lot of debate surrounding the vitality of brick-and-mortar detail, recent analytics suggest physical retail is still highly relevant.

Black FridayPreliminary returns are in, and U.S. retailers—both online and the more traditional kind—seem to have done well on Black Friday this year. Online sales were particularly robust, with Adobe Digital Insights reporting that Americans spent about $5 billion on Internet-based shopping.

That’s an increase of 16.9 percent from last year, the company said. Adobe Digital Insights tracks about 80 percent of online spending at the country’s 100 largest retail websites.

Separately, preliminary estimates by data analytics company ShopperTrak said foot traffic decreased less than 1 percent in physical stores when compared to Black Friday 2016. That decrease is less than had been predicted for the battered retail sector.

“There has been a significant amount of debate surrounding the shifting importance of brick-and-mortar retail, and the fact that shopper visits remained intact on Black Friday illustrates that physical retail is still highly relevant and, when done right, profitable,” Brian Field, senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak, said in a statement.

Looking ahead, eight of the 10 anticipated busiest shopping days still remain, including Super Saturday—the last Saturday before Christmas—which will fall on Dec. 23 this year. Also, there are four Saturdays in December before Christmas, which will elevate the importance of both Dec. 23 and Dec. 16 this year, according to ShopperTrak.

Image via Flickr user Diariocritico de Venezuela