Do big online sales spell the end for in-store Black Friday deals?

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Experts are predicting that this Cyber Monday could be the biggest in its 12-year history. But as more people continue to shop online, does that mean we we’re heading towards the end of big in-store Black Friday deals?

Adobe Digital Insights, which monitors roughly 80 percent of online spending at the top 100 retail websites in the country, says consumers spent a record $5 billion online during Black Friday. At the same time, some analytics companies are reporting small decreases in Black Friday foot traffic.

Butler University Marketing Professor Dan McQuistion says despite the numbers, Black Friday deals aren’t likely to leave brick and mortar stores anytime soon. He points out that stores are now making better use of their shopping data and offering better deals on the most popular items, while also consolidating inventory.

McQuistion says they’re also focusing on better customer service as a way to retain shoppers.

“They’re training their people to be more customer focused, training their people to spend more time with the customers so that customers feel like they’ve had a more pleasant shopping experience when they go into a brick and mortar store,” he said

Survey data predicts more than 55 percent of consumers are expected to shop online this holiday season. While that may mean online sales will continue to grow, McQuiston says consumer affinity to get “hands on” with deals and sale items lends itself to in-store black Friday deals sticking around.

“There’s still the excitement of being able to walk into a best buy and get a TV for $189,” he said.