Best Buy, Etsy Among 2020 Black Friday's Big Winners

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping events of the year for retail stocks. This year's holiday shopping season has been a unique one, and early data suggests retail investors could see some mixed outcomes.

Online sales growth for Black Friday was up 22% according to Adobe Analytics and 23% according to Salesforce. That growth rate is well short of the 39% estimates from eMarketer and Adobe.

Related Link: Why November And December Are Critical For Video Game Sales

BofA’s Take: Bank of America analyst Justin Post said the numbers look a bit lackluster at first glance, but there's likely a simple explanation.

“Sales results below expectations were likely driven by more prolonged sales events this year, leading to holiday sales being more spread out with less concentration on Black Friday vs. prior years,” Post wrote in a note.

Another piece of bullish news for retail investors is that retailers don’t appear to be discounting products as much this year as they did last year. Bank of America found a basket of 35 popular holiday sales items were discounted by an average of between 1% and 2% on Black Friday this year compared to an 8% to 10% average discount last year.

Google Trends Data: On Tuesday, DataTrek Research co-founder Nicholas Colas said Google Trends search data suggests clear retail winners and losers this Black Friday.

Traditional American department stores are likely taking a hit this year, Colas said. Google Trends indicates search volume for Macy's Inc M and Nordstrom, Inc. JWN was down significantly from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30 compared to a year ago.

At the same time, online retailers Wayfair Inc W and Etsy Inc ETSY have seen 2020 search volume surpass 2019 levels during that stretch.

Colas said search volume for electronics retailers Best Buy Co Inc BBY and GameStop Corp. (NYSE GME) surpassed 2019 levels due to searches related to the new gaming consoles from Microsoft Corporation MSFT and Sony Corp SNE. However, search volumes are still down compared to 2017, when the Xbox One X was launched.

“Online-only retail brands look like secular winners over e-commerce grafted on a traditional store model, even when brick and mortar locations are open for business,” Colas said.

Benzinga’s Take: Retail investors were likely expecting the 2020 holiday shopping season to be an outlier due to the pandemic, and many companies are primarily concerned with minimizing the negative impact. However, the way holiday shopping season 2021 compares to 2019 could be much more telling when it comes to how much of the 2020 retail disruption will have a permanent impact.

Posted In: Bank of AmericaBlack FridayDataTrek Researchholiday shoppingJustin PostNicholas ColasAnalyst ColorNewsRetail SalesTop StoriesAnalyst Ratings