There's an interesting thing happening with Black Friday retail these days.
Consumer shopping in November, especially around Black Friday, matters less.
But consumer stocks in November matter more.
That's what the data say. First, if you look at the actual impact and relevance of Black Friday, there's a lot of numbers pointing to its decreased relevance in the overall shopping season. Economists have noticed declining focus on Black Friday sales in recent years, and retailers actually are making a point of moving away from the tradition. Even when the numbers show big shopping days, you can hardly trust them.
Consumers have many other options now: Shopping online and on mobile is driving consumers out of the stores. Also, the Christmas buying season has stretched in both directions, starting earlier and ending later. Data from fashion site Polyvore show that each year, consumers start looking for gifts earlier and earlier. This year, the searches picked up in early September.
On the other hand, data from Cardylytics show that procrastinators are the biggest shopping group — and the fastest growing. They have pushed the retail season until basically the moments before Dec. 25. The strength of fast and cheap shipping (we're looking at you, Amazon) has helped create that dynamic.