Black Friday is usually hallmarked by door busters with ridiculously low prices and items that fly off shelves faster than you can pull out your credit card. Cyber Monday follows that up with limited time flash sales and exclusive online items that let you skip the lines and avoid the elbow to elbow crowds of its counterpart. The two busiest shopping days of the year fill retailer’s pockets and the space under Christmas trees in equal measure while leaving empty display cases and crashed websites in their wake. Anyone waiting to see that happen this year is likely going to be disappointed. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, with lackluster promotions and apparently revenue was as well.

Retailers looked towards Black Friday to replace much of the revenue lost this year, yet they were forced to deal with the supply chain shortage. The answer to this dilemma for many retailers was to spread Black Friday out over multiple weeks in an effort to ease congestions and spread out demand. The solution seems to have worked; however, it proved to be a double edge sword that brought in fewer shoppers on Nov. 26th. The traditional large markdowns were largely absent this year and many retailers held to their word by offering fewer deals overall.

Prices are already up this year due to the disruption of the supply chain and the lesser markdowns did little to entice consumers. Shoppers who participated in Cyber Monday spent $10.7 billion, which marks a 1.4% decrease from last year according to Adobe Analytics. The downturn was somewhat expected considering inflation and the new virus variant on the horizon, yet it is still disappointing for retailers who were hoping the two shopping days would push them into the black. It’s not all bad news though; Adobe also reported that shoppers have spent $109.8 billion online since November 1st, which is an 11.9% increase over last year. This is an indication that retailers’ strategy of spreading deals out over the entire month was beneficial, even if it caused revenue for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to appear lower. Adobe is also predicting that online sales will reach $207 billion, a 10% increase over the previous mark. CSG’s own Consumer Spending Report estimated a 23.3% increase over the previous year’s November spending intentions. It appears that all of the pent up demand that has been building throughout the year will be realized, just not within the traditional short timeframe.

The supply chain also held up surprisingly well considering the catastrophic turn it could have taken. There were still a significant amount of out-of-stock messages this year with Adobe claiming they were up 258% vs 2019. Shortages were expected, although it did not appear that physical stores were ransacked in the way they typically are this time of year. Online deals may have contributed to this and efforts by retailers like Target and Walmart to secure more inventory paid dividends. Preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions showed that foot traffic was down 28% from 2019, which helped ease the pressure on the in-store supply chain. Increased online sales will offset this drop in physical traffic; however, it has been harder to combat inflation. Discounts were down and door busters that draw throngs of people were nowhere to be found.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were closer to boom than bust this year, although it still fell short of expectations. Virus variants, shortages of goods and labor, and inflation have all slowed what could have been the greatest two shopping days of all time. Month long deals may not be the future of shopping holidays, yet retailers have already made some permanent changes. Many have committed to staying closed on Thanksgiving Day next year and we could see a whole host of new ideas being deployed based on the data they get back from this latest experiment. CSG’s #DataTuesday, on the other hand, was a rousing success and has been extended through next Tuesday! Just use code DATATUES at checkout to save 20% on all B2B leads databases.