A Johnston-based company which tracks the use of debit cards finds the dynamics of Black Friday and the Cyber Monday shopping continue to change.
SHAZAM spokesman, Patrick Dix, says the number of transactions across the Midwest fell for stores which opened Thanksgiving evening to get a jump on Friday. “I thought that was interesting because we also have seen some retailers sort of reject the idea of opening early on Thanksgiving,” Dix says. ” After a few years of everyone saying — yes, let’s push Black Friday earlier and earlier — we had some say no, we’re going to stay closed on Thursday of Thanksgiving.”
He says the numbers were also down for the six a.m. Friday to noon period. But there was still plenty of money flowing. “The average transaction size was still up. So, there may have been fewer transactions, but the average transaction was still up a little bit,” Dix says. The average transaction was $29 compared to $24 in 2017.
Dix says waiting in line to get in when stores open early seems to have lost some of its luster. “That is not nearly the busiest part of the day on Black Friday. In fact, the numbers show that far fewer people were shopping between midnight and 6 a.m. than they were say between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” according to Dix. “That really was the peak time of the day — really a normal , normal business day, normal shopping hours. People have figured out that they can go almost anytime on Black Friday and get good deals.”
They can track transactions that are not happening in stores and found some similar patterns in Cyber Monday shopping. “What we saw again this year — a little bit of an increase from midnight to six a.m. in transaction numbers, but a very slight in increase. And a little bit of a decrease between six a.m. and noon, which I thought was kind of interesting” Dix says. “But again, the average spent this year was up anywhere between 20 and 25 percent is kind of where we’ve seen it.”
Dix says the increase in spending in stores an online could be an indicator of the mood of shoppers as the season moves along. He says that could be a reflection of the good economy, or that people could have little more to spend this year. The average online purchase was up about five dollars compared to 2017.
Dix does not have an individual break out on Iowa shopping, but says the overall Midwest numbers give a pretty good view of what is happening here.