Mother Nature Cooked Up Roasted Turkey in the East and Served Cold Turkey in the West.
Rain, Snow, and Ice in Interior Regions Made it the Wettest Holiday Weekend in 15 Years.
The warmest Black Friday weekend since 2012 featured strong regional variations, with cold in the West and warm-feeling temperatures in the East, which impacted how and what consumers purchased. For example, Los Angeles and New York City both experienced similar temperatures on Black Friday; however, the consumer response was vastly different! Demand for fleece increased +19% over last year in Los Angeles while New York City experienced a 5% drop.
Overall, cold temperatures in the West lifted seasonal demand for fall and winter businesses. Warmth in the East limited demand for cold weather categories, although store traffic benefitted from overall dry conditions during much of the weekend. Wet weather including rain, snow, and ice was focused in interior regions, impacting store traffic and driving need based purchases.
Across the entire U.S., the 2015 Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend (November 26 – 29) was the warmest since 2012 and warmer than normal. Warmest temperatures were in the South Atlantic and East South Central regions, which had their warmest holiday weekend in over 15 years. New England was warmest since 2009. Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, and Pittsburgh all had their warmest holiday weekend in over 15 years. Boston was warmest since 1999, Philadelphia since 2001, and New York City since 2011. The warmer conditions to last year and limited precipitation was beneficial for store traffic into malls, outlet centers, mass merchants, and restaurants. Despite mild conditions on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, temperatures dropped notably by Sunday with many major eastern markets trending near or below normal.
Out West, the Pacific and Mountain regions had their coldest Black Friday weekend since 2010. Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle had their coldest holiday weekend in over 15 years. Los Angeles and San Francisco were coldest since 2010. Cold temperatures in these western markets helped drive need-based purchasing of jackets, sweaters, gloves, hot drinks, blankets, and firewood.
Precipitation across the U.S. was the most for the holiday weekend since 2000, driven by interior regions. The West North Central and West South Central regions had their wettest holiday weekend in over 15 years. Chicago, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio were all wettest in over 15 years. Snowfall was greatest in the West North Central region which had its most snowfall over Black Friday weekend since 2008. Ice, snow, and freezing rain impacted parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri and crippled traffic into stores and restaurants. These interior markets experienced an increase in need-based demand for wiper blades, ice melt, and snow removal. Holiday purchasing likely shifted online in markets where consumers remained at home.
Initial consumer spending estimates from the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend are confirming that shopping patterns continue to evolve, reflecting the growth in online purchasing. Many businesses opted to stay closed on Thanksgiving this year, and consumer purchasing patterns continued to shift from physical stores to websites. According to Adobe Inc.’s Digital Index, online sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday increased 18%. Online sales are also expected to spike on Cyber Monday, November 30th. While online sales shined, sales in stores declined. According to RetailNext, sales for the combined Thanksgiving and Black Friday period were down 1.5% compared to last year, although the average transaction value increased 1.1 percent. A report from ShopperTrak noted that initial sales estimates for Thursday and Friday were $12.1 billion, representing a decrease compared to last year. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), there were over 151 million unique shoppers who visited stores and/or websites over the holiday weekend, including over 74 million in stores on Black Friday alone, which drew the biggest crowds of the weekend.