According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted ahead of this year's Thanksgiving weekend, an estimated 164 million US consumers were planning to shop, or at least considering it, during the weekend. Some 115 million, or 70% of them, expected to do that on Friday, the traditional kickoff the holiday shopping season.
Of course, the big draw is the doorbuster deals unleashed on Black Friday (and increasingly even on Thanksgiving day itself).
Those deals say a lot about the state of the retail industry as a whole—what retailers need to do to remain relevant, what consumers are spending on (and not spending on) and how the industry is going to evolve in the coming months.
Here's a selection of this year's offerings, and what they say about the industry:
The Amazon/Walmart Rivalry Is Only Getting Hotter: While retailers like Target, Best Buy and Macy’s, featured offers on Amazon's Echo line, Walmart only promoted Google Home, the smart speaker product from its new partner, Google. Meanwhile, a search for Google Home products on Amazon's Black Friday deals section only led to Echo offers.
Smart Everything: Yes, this year’s holiday deals speak of consumer demand (as well as retailer hopes) for wider adoption of smart home devices. Walmart had a section featuring “create a smart home” deals. Best Buy, which has called out smart home products as a key product focus, is perhaps the best example. Three of the company’s 50-page Black Friday deals flier featured smart home related devices including not only Amazon and Google’s respective voice assistants lineups, but also video doorbells, smart locks, wifi security camera, thermostats and even smart plugs.