October US Retail Sales Stall Waiting for Black Friday Discounts
Release date: November 15, 2023
US retail sales grew a mere 2.7% YOY for All Stores in October as interest rates in the US are at a 22 year high. All stores Less Automotive, Food, Pharmacies are up 4.1% YOY, mainly thanks to Non-Store Retailers as Amazon’s latest Prime Day sales outpaced previous years.
2023’s October Prime Day, which over-performed 2022’s October Prime Day, further displayed trends in the retail industry. This year’s shoppers opted for essential items compared to big ticket items which is further reflected in most other discretionary categories in October. Data from Numerator showed that:
- Nearly 60% of items sold were under $20, with only 4% of products purchased being over $100,
- Though the largest category was Apparel and Shoes, the other in the top three were Home Goods and Household Essentials, and
- Following Prime Day, 59% of shoppers said they might shop Black Friday and 57% Cyber Monday.
The trends from October’s Prime Day demonstrate a price conscious consumer who purchased essentials on Prime Day but may be waiting until Black Friday/Cyber Monday to make larger purchases.
Furniture, Home Furnishings, Electronics and Appliances Stores experienced further decline in October, down -6.7% YOY. It seems that this will continue for the time being, as Home Depot is projecting a decrease in same store sales from 3-4%. This is the first time since 2009 that they have projected a decrease in annual sales, when the US housing market crashed. Similar to what was realized through Prime Day this year, this seems to also be a category where consumers are delaying their larger purchases. These purchases are also frequently financed/purchased through credit cards, which are both highly affected by changes in interest rates.
In addition to furniture, the majority of discretionary categories were also down in October. As consumers become more and more price sensitive, discounts become more attractive. As such and from Prime Day surveys, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals around the corner, JCWG believes that customers were likely delaying these discretionary categories simply because they were waiting to see what is offered for Black Friday. Many brands have already started their Black Friday sales by early November and more continue to roll out. JCWG will be closely monitoring this year’s sale season, and our US NRB report for November will offer a glimpse into these insights.
Consumers are clearly waiting for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. With deep discounts expected, it can be difficult to break through the noise, so creativity in your marketing and branding is key. In October the team is thinking about:
- What categories will the gain the most sales lift over Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
- Why do customers think that retailers’ Black Friday deals will be better than Prime Day?
- Where are customers going to make the majority of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases, online or in-store?
- How have YOU prepared to draw customers during the busy holiday season?
For support in reviewing and refining your strategy, reach out to the retail strategy team at JCWG!
US Retail Sales by Product Category, Same Month Comparison
|Sales for the Month of October||Oct-23||Oct-22||YOY|
|Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers||130,389||126,737||2.88%|
|All Stores Less Automotive||512,589||493,358||3.90%|
|Food and Beverage Stores||82,198||82,064||0.16%|
|Health and Personal Care Stores||37,700||34,025||10.80%|
|All Stores Less Automotive, Food, Pharmacies||392,691||377,269||4.09%|
|Building Material and Garden Equipment Stores||42,067||43,517||-3.33%|
|General Merchandise Stores||73,464||72,908||0.76%|
|Department Stores (Excluding Leased Departments)||10,411||11,095||-6.16%|
|Clothing and Accessories Stores||24,743||24,787||-0.18%|
|Furniture, Home Furnishings, Electronics and Appliance Stores||17,937||19,216||-6.66%|
|Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores||10,502||11,885||-11.64%|
|Electronics and Appliance Stores||7,435||7,331||1.42%|
|Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument, and Book Stores||7,854||8,168||-3.84%|
|Miscellaneous Store Retailers||15,804||15,648||1.00%|
|Food Services and Drinking Places||92,709||86,028||7.77%|
US Retail Sales by Store Category, Year to Date Comparison
|Year-to-Date Sales Ending October||Oct-23||Oct-22||YTD|
|Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers||1,338,569||1,289,603||3.80%|
|All Stores Less Automotive||4,959,128||4,726,999||4.91%|
|Food and Beverage Stores||811,355||788,895||2.85%|
|Health and Personal Care Stores||355,462||328,438||8.23%|
|All Stores Less Automotive, Food, Pharmacies||3,792,311||3,609,666||5.06%|
|Building Material and Garden Equipment Stores||422,025||434,309||-2.83%|
|General Merchandise Stores||706,417||686,463||2.91%|
|Department Stores (Excluding Leased Departments)||103,923||106,329||-2.26%|
|Clothing and Accessories Stores||242,562||239,395||1.32%|
|Furniture, Home Furnishings, Electronics and Appliance Stores||183,103||190,432||-3.85%|
|Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores||110,593||116,700||-5.23%|
|Electronics and Appliance Stores||72,510||73,732||-1.66%|
|Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument, and Book Stores||81,157||80,941||0.27%|
|Miscellaneous Store Retailers||152,597||149,117||2.33%|
|Food Services and Drinking Places||902,460||809,637||11.46%|
US Consumer Confidence Index (2010 = 100)
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