NPD: Mixed Black Friday, Cyber Week CE Sales Results

It was a mixed bag for consumer electronics during last month’s annual post-Thanksgiving Black Friday retail day/week, including Cyber Monday, according to new data from The NPD Group.

The industry saw a 15% year-over-year revenue increase, while Cyber Week saw a 3% increase versus year ago. Much the revenue gains were due to category price hikes Results for these two weeks were up versus 2019, as the strength of online shopping reinvigorated the two core weeks of the holiday selling season.

Meanwhile, while revenue increased, unit sales — which indicate consumer demand — tell a different story. In the first nine weeks of the fourth quarter unit sales are down 4% from 2020, according to NPD.

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The industry-wide average selling price is up, which the Port Washington, N.Y.-based research group contends is due in part to demand for quality and performance, component and shipping costs, lower promotional levels, and industry-wide choices to focus production resources on higher price point goods.

“Consumers are embracing a different kind of value, as they look to invest in higher-end, better-quality products,” Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD, said in a statement.

NPD said that among product categories, the surprise thus far has been virtual reality. During Cyber Week, VR/AR saw revenue growth of 84%, and unit volume more than doubled.

record-high selling prices for TVs resulted in record-breaking revenue during Cyber Week. Headphones continued their strong holiday quarter with a 7% revenue increase.

“Cyber Week 2021 followed a similar pattern to pre-pandemic years, demonstrating that the lack of a post-Black Friday lull in 2020 truly was an aberration,” Cohen said. “High-momentum categories are starting to show some vulnerability, which is understandable given the headwinds at play. However, these categories may still show up with late holiday shoppers looking to take advantage of last-minute deals during the full week of shopping after Super Saturday on this year’s calendar.”

Fire TV Sticks Lead Record Amazon Black Friday, Cyber Weekend Sales

Amazon Nov. 30 announced that its branded Fire TV Stick streaming media device, along with third-party branded Fire TV devices, helped drive record online sales on Black Friday (Nov. 26) through the Cyber Monday (Nov. 29).

The e-commerce behemoth did not disclose actual revenue data, but did share that smart-TVs from Insignia, Toshiba and Pioneer using Fire TV, as well as all-new standalone Amazon Fire TV Omni and 4-Series HDTVs debuted No. 1 in sales on the website thus far in the holiday retail season.

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Analytics company Profitero said Amazon topped Best Buy, Target and Walmart, among 12 online retailers, for lowest prices across 15,530 products and 15 categories.

Among top-selling video game discs: Mojang’s Minecraft for Sony PlayStation 4, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Bakugan Champions Vestroia for the Nintendo Switch console.

Amazon is extending through Dec. 5 price discounts on all Fire TV devices, including $12 off the Fire TV Stick Lite; $20 off the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen.); $25 off the Fire TV Stick with 4K; $20 off the Fire TV Stick 4K Max; $40 off the Fire TV Cube; and $100 off the Fire TV Recast.

NRF: 180 Million People Shopped Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Nearly 180 million Americans shopped during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday (Nov. 29), according to the annual survey released Nov. 30 by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

The tally, which exceeded the trade group’s initial estimates by 21 million, trailed last year’s total of more than 186 million. The data underscores the reality that the winter holiday shopping season has expanded to begin before Thanksgiving. Indeed, 49% of survey respondents said they took advantage of pre-holiday sales.

“Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season,” Matthew Shay, CEO of the NRF, said in a statement.

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The number of people who shopped in stores increased this year. Retailers saw an increase in foot traffic, with approximately 104.9 million shoppers visiting stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020. The overall number of online shoppers decreased to a total of 127.8 million, from 145.4 million last year.

Black Friday remained the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 66.5 million shoppers, followed by 51 million shoppers on Small Business Saturday. The importance of supporting local businesses remained top of mind for many consumers, with 71% indicating they were shopping specifically for “Small Business Saturday.” Similarly to recent years, Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday in terms of total online shoppers, with 88 million shopping online the Friday after Thanksgiving, compared with 77 million on Monday.

“Over the last few years, Black Friday has emerged as a powerhouse day for both in-store and online shopping,” said Phil Rist, EVP at Prosper Insights & Analytics. “Even though many consumers are starting their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, a considerable portion of their purchases are still made over the course of the five-day weekend.”

Analyst: Black Friday No Longer a Single-Day Event

With one initial report (Adobe) suggesting the Black Friday retail weekend saw a slowdown in total sales, official data across the long holiday weekend remains forthcoming.

One analyst contends the annual post-Thanksgiving event has expanded beyond a few days to encompass weeks, before and after the third Thursday in November. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter made a return to in-store surveillance following last year’s pandemic and found consumers increasingly shop online while still frequenting stores.

Indeed, the Black Friday weekend concludes following today’s Cyber Monday event, so coined by the National Retail Federation in 2005 as a way of promoting e-commerce. The day has now become an industry record-setter. Last year’s Cyber Monday (Nov. 30, 2020) was the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history with more than $10.7 billion spent on e-commerce. 

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“Consumers still come out on Black Friday, but they are increasingly
shopping online, particularly for consumer electronics,” Pachter wrote in a Nov. 29 note.

That said, Pachter and his team still found value assessing inventory levels ahead of Black Friday at retail, while continuing to track the depth of Black Friday deals vs. prior years both online and in stores.

Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics retail store chain, took precautions against supply chain issues to keep stores well-stocked with video games, connected TVs, and streaming media devices heading into Black Friday, according to Pachter.

“We were surprised at the how little appeared to have sold through
at big box retailers within gaming and PC peripherals this year,” he wrote.

The analyst contends that as consumers increasingly shop online, retail store inventories of select CE items remained slim compared to previous years.

“Sellthrough appeared strong for CTVs and Roku players,” Pachter wrote. “In the stores we checked, Roku players were in high demand, particularly the lower-end models and particularly the discounted 4K streaming stick.”

Roku sells its players at a steep discount in order to drive user growth, especially on its platform and The Roku Channel ad-supported streaming service. Indeed, the company marketed a $15 streaming device on Black Friday.

“We think the pandemic era accelerated direct-to-consumer selling,” Pachter wrote. “Our covered companies are all in the early stages of this, but may benefit as the gross margin upside from direct sales offsets some of the pressure from higher shipping costs this year.”

Merchandising: Target Offering Exclusive DVD Covers for Black Friday Sale

Without much in the way of new disc releases the week of Nov. 23, the retail chains focused their attention on discounts tied to Black Friday sales.

Target is running a buy-two-get-one free sale on movies, books and movies. Among the selections are a number of DVDs with Target-exclusive box art offered at $8 apiece, such as Lionsgate’s Dirty Dancing, La La Land and Five Feet Apart.

In addition, Target is selling Christmas movies at deep discounts as well, as low as $6 on DVD and $7 on Blu-ray. Target’s home video sections have have had a Christmas-movie display for several weeks already.

Best Buy is offering deep discounts on most of home video product, with select Blu-rays as low as $5.99 and 4K Ultra HD discs down to $9.99 for several recent films such as F9: The Fast Saga and Wonder Woman 1984.

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Walmart has begun taking preorders for Warner’s Dune on Blu-ray, offering the combo pack in a replica of the Bene Desserit pain box for $29.96.

Walmart’s ‘Dune’ Blu-ray with gift box

 

Roku Bowing $15 Streaming Device, Special HBO Max, Redbox Pricing for Black Friday

Roku is rolling several promotions and pricing for the upcoming post-Thanksgiving Black Friday retail event.

The subscription streaming video market co-founder Nov. 15 announced that the $15 Roku LE streaming player will be available exclusively at Walmart for Black Friday while supplies last. The Roku LE streaming player will be available online at Walmart.com on Nov. 24 and in-store on Nov. 26, while supplies last.

Roku is also taking $20 off the 4K Roku streaming stick ($49.99 MSRP); $15 off the Roku Premiere ($34.99 MSRP), $15 off the Roku Streaming Stick+ ($44.99 MSRP), and $50 off the Roku Streambar ($129.99 MSRP), available online and in-store across major retailers nationwide.

For a limited time, Roku is offering promotional 99-cents subscriptions (for the first two months) to more than 20 third-party platforms, including AMC+, Epix, Showtime and Starz. The special pricing is redeemable through The Roku Channel beginning Nov. 20 until Nov. 30, 2021.

In addition, new HBO Max subscribers will be eligible for a 30-day free trial when they purchase and activate a new Roku streaming device before Jan. 14, 2022.

Roku is also offering a $5 Redbox offer on all Roku players sold at Walmart, including the Roku LE. Consumers can redeem a special code by downloading the Redbox app via their Roku player and the credit is immediately available to use towards movie rentals.

Best Buy Black Friday Deals Start

Best Buy Oct. 19-22 is offering hundreds of Black Friday deals available on tech, including everything from headphones to laptops and TVs.

Deals include $599 for a Samsung 70-inch 4K Smart TV ($150 savings), $169 for Beats Studio 3 headphones in matte black ($180 savings), Chromebooks as low as $99, Windows laptops as low as $189.99, and $540 savings on Samsung appliances.

Deals are covered by a Black Friday Price Guarantee, which means the price won’t go lower before Black Friday, according to Best Buy. Best Buy will automatically refund My Best Buy and Best Buy Totaltech members the difference. If the price goes lower before Black Friday and customers are not a member of My Best Buy or Best Buy Totaltech, they can still be reimbursed by visiting their local store or contacting the Best Buy customer care team and requesting a price match under our Price Match Guarantee, according to the chain.

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At Best Buy, Black Friday starts a week early on Nov. 19. Best Buy stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25. Customers who would still like to shop that day can shop on BestBuy.com or through the Best Buy app.

Walmart+ Members Getting Early Access to Black Friday Deals

Walmart has announced the return of its month-long savings event, “Black Friday Deals for Days,” this time with something extra for Walmart+ members.

Paying Walmart+ members will receive early access to online Black Friday events throughout November — an opportunity to shop all the deals four hours earlier than the scheduled start times for all three events.

“We continue to build Walmart+ to be the ultimate life hack for our customers,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer for Walmart U.S. in a statement. “That means we’re there for our customers during the everyday with key benefits like free unlimited delivery from stores and free shipping with no order minimum, but it also means we create extra excitement for them during the big moments, like Black Friday. We’re excited for our Walmart+ members to be first in line for the hottest Black Friday deals out there.”

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As it did last year, Walmart will spread out its Black Friday savings to three events throughout November to offer customers the sale prices. Each savings event will begin online at Walmart.com and continue with the same deals in Walmart stores.

“Our customers count on us to deliver an amazing Black Friday experience with the best prices year after year, and this year we’re making it even bigger and better with more ways to shop and more of every item,” Scott McCall, EVP and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “The team has worked hard to prepare for another outstanding holiday season, and no matter how or where our customers choose to shop — from the shelf in a store, ordering online and picking it up curbside or having it delivered to their front door — they can depend on us for a safe and convenient shopping experience.”

Walmart will have more of every event product available so as many customers as possible can take advantage of the season’s best deals, according to the retailer. Walmart customers will discover savings on new items from top brands, such as Samsung, Reebok, Apple and Keurig, and deals on hundreds of exclusive items that can only be found at Walmart and Walmart.com, according to the company.

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Deals beginning online Nov. 3 and continuing in stores Nov. 5 include savings on toys and electronics during its first Black Friday event. Starting online at Walmart.com on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. ET, customers can purchase items such as a 55-inch TCL 4K Roku TV for $228, the L.O.L. Surprise! Amazing Surprise Doll set for $64, and the always popular Keurig K-Compact for $35. The first set of deals also features Walmart’s tire savings events, including Goodyear tires at $20 off with a free tire balance. Deals continue in stores starting Nov. 5 at 5 a.m. local time. Walmart+ members get early access to deals from 3 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET on Nov. 3.

Deals beginning online Nov. 10 and continuing in stores Nov. 12 include sales on apparel, home goods, hardlines and more. Deals start online at Walmart.com on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET and continue in stores beginning Nov. 12 at 5 a.m. local time. During the second sale, customers can take advantage of savings on items such as an exclusive Blackstone 22-inch Griddle with a hard cover and carrying case for $117, Walmart’s exclusive HP i3 Laptop for $279, and a Shark EZ Robot Vacuum for $288. Walmart+ members get early access to deals from 3 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET on Nov. 10.

Walmart will wrap up the month with a third event that “will bring its biggest, best savings of the season for the most exciting shopping day of the year,” according to the retailer.

Customers can shop thousands of deals available right now on Walmart.com, plus Black Friday savings on select items starting Oct. 18 at 8:15 p.m. ET, while supplies last, according to the retailer. Early Black Friday deals include:

  • Ninja 4QT Air Fryer at $69
  • 55-inch TCL Smart 4K UHDTV at $298
  • Bounce Pro 14-foot Trampoline at $184
  • Lego 442-piece Classic Bricks on a Roll at $20

 

The Walmart+ membership is $98 a year or $12.95 a month. In addition to early Black Friday savings, Walmart+ members also get free shipping with no order minimum on items shipped by Walmart, free delivery from store, Rx for Less, and mobile Scan and Go to make shopping even faster.

Amazon Eyeing Black Friday NFL Game

On the heels of Amazon’s reported $1.2 billion annual deal with the National Football League for exclusive rights to all 15 “Thursday Night Football,” games for 11 years beginning in 2023, comes news the e-commerce behemoth is looking to possibly add a game on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

That speculation comes from Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and member of the NFL management committee that secured a record $113 billion in collective TV/media contract fees from Fox, Disney, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and Amazon.

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Speaking to “The Peter King Podcast” on NBC Sports’ “Pro Football Talk,” Kraft said Amazon was looking for a perk since it is spending double what Fox paid for the previous rights, and there is no “Thursday Night Football” on Thanksgiving. That’s because the NFL has a long tradition (since 1934) showcasing the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, and other teams, on the last Thursday in November.

“Amazon [will] dedicate tremendous resources to make this work for them and for us,” Kraft said. “Who knows, maybe we’ll play a game on Black Friday, their biggest shopping day of the year?”

The NFL live-streamed its first game on Oct. 25, 2015, on Yahoo Sports from London featuring the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since then, over-the-top video has exploded while the traditional linear TV bundle has declined.

“Today, you are able to watch an original film that won an Oscar on the same site that you buy your toothpaste,” added Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer with the NFL.

While Amazon has made no official announcement, the NFL has been reluctant to play on Friday due to the league’s 60-year antitrust exemption via the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 negotiating media contracts. The NFL, and other sports leagues, over the years have survived legislative attempts to rescind those antitrust exemptions.

Last year, for the first time in 10 years, the NFL scheduled a game on Friday, Dec. 25 between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

 

Thanksgiving Discounts Push ‘Joker’ Back to No. 1 on Disc Sales Charts

Warner’s Joker returned to the top spot on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, as well as the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Nov. 28.

The film, based on the Batman villain from DC Comics, was previously the top title for a week in January upon its release on DVD and Blu-ray. It had been No. 2 in the week leading up to Black Friday, and retailers extending deep discount deals earlier in the week due to the coronavirus pandemic, including on home media, was enough to push it to the top of the sales charts.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 65% of Joker sales for the week.

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Disney’s live-action Mulan, which had topped disc sales the previous two weeks, fell to No. 7 on both charts.

No new releases made it onto the top 50 chart for the week, with the possible exception of Paramount’s Nov. 24 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog as a limited-edition Blu-ray with collector’s cards containing photos and art from the film. It was No. 4 on the overall sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart.

Several holiday favorites continue to sell well in the lead-up to Christmas.

No. 2 on the overall sales chart, selling 96% as many copies as the top title, was Universal’s 2018 animated movie The Grinch, based on the classic Dr. Seuss tale. It was No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 3 on both charts was Warner’s eight-film “Harry Potter” collection.

No. 5 on the overall sales chart was Home Alone, a 20th Century Studios movie now owned by Disney.

Other Holiday discs in the top 20 include Warner’s Elf at No. 9 (No. 19 on the Blu-ray chart), Warner’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at No. 11 (No. 17 BD), 20th Century’s Home Alone 2: Lost in New York at No. 14 and Warner’s The Polar Express at No. 17.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 29, Disney’s Mulan remake returned to the top spot, pushing Lionsgate’s Unhinged to No. 2.

Paramount’s new comedy Buddy Games debuted at No. 3, while 20th Century’s The New Mutants dropped to No. 4. Newcomer Iron Mask, from Lionsgate, debuted at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-28-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-29-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-28-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-28-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-28-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-30-20