Hawke Media Special Report: September 16, 2020 | Blog | Hawke Media


Black Friday will look different this year. While the deals may still be available, many retailers are opting to shut their doors in the face of a pandemic that continues to wreak havoc in the United States as the country struggles to get it under control after over 6,000,000 confirmed cases and over 190,000 dead.

Retailers are taking extra precautions to do their part in curbing the spread of COVID-19 as eCommerce and online experiences become clear preferences for customers concerned about their health and safety. 

Major retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Macy’s are all planning to forego opening for Thanksgiving, with many likely to remain closed through the holiday weekend. This year will be a test in adapting to an environment that strongly favors a physically distant experience over the usual droves of deal-hungry shoppers rushing stores for “doorbuster” savings.

The way to win this holiday season is to provide a frictionless online shopping experience. It’s not a matter of preference, it’s a matter of necessity as Black Friday Weekend accounted for $68.9 billion of retail revenue in 2019, nearly 20% of revenue for the entire holiday shopping season.

Consumer Trends

Spending: Online

  • Smartphone transactions are responsible for 40% of online sales in 2020 to date, according to data from DigitalCommerce360.
  • Online sales have increased by 42% YoY for the month of August, reaching $63 billion.

Spending: Overview

Source: Facteus
  • Consumers seemed more willing to spend over the Labor Day holiday as sales became more widespread.
  • Video games sales are still showing strong numbers even though they’ve taken a dip of approximately 33% WoW.

Source: Credit Union Times
  • For the week ending September 6, credit and debit card spending showed significant gains as credit cards showed a 9.9% increase in spending and debit cards rose to 23.6%.

Source: eMarketer
  • Regardless of income level, shoppers are still searching for deals and want the most value for what they’re spending during the pandemic.

Business Trends

Retail Overview

Source: DigitalCommerce360
  • Total retail sales for the first half of 2020 showed positive growth, however not as strong as projections from before the pandemic set in.
  • eCommerce remains an outlier as the sector continues to experience rapid growth.

eCommerce: Labor Day Weekend

Source: Nomagoo
  • Note: “Hijacking Rate” refers to customers that were redirected to a competitive product at some point in the mid- to bottom-funnel of the customer journey.
  • Health & Beauty online sales increased 114% over Labor Day Weekend.
  • Most categories charted a strong increase in online sales over the Labor Day weekend.

New Product Alert: Google

  • Google recently released Discovery Ads which allows advertisers to reach up to 3 billion users across YouTube, Gmail, and Discover.


Source: DigitalCommerce360
  • Many major retailers went bankrupt over the course of the pandemic, especially department stores and fashion/apparel brands.
  • The impact of the financial strain on businesses has been felt from the top to the bottom.

This article originally appeared in the HawkeMedia blog and has been published here with permission.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.