It seems that starting holiday sales as early as November 1st has taken some of the excitement of Black Friday away from consumers.

According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumer spending fell by 11% this Thanksgiving weekend, with 2014’s $50.9 billion down from $57.4 billion in 2013.

While brick-and-mortar stores battled with declines in store traffic and revenue, eCommerce sales grew by 15-30% this year, with both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday generating over $1 billion in U.S. online sales for the first time. Here at Canopy Labs, many of our eCommerce customers saw a 3-8x increase in sales over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Black Friday Sales 2014

Last week, we profiled major website outages from the Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays of past years, and 2014 was no exception. This year, Best Buy’s website crashed on two separate occasions on Black Friday, with outages lasting nearly two hours during the critical morning shopping period. HP and Nike also experienced website crashes from heavy web traffic and demand.

In the UK, major retailers such as Tesco, John Lewis, TopShop, Currys, and PC World all experienced website performance issues as well. John Lewis estimates that 7% of visitors had difficulties accessing the site, while Currys customers were stuck waiting in online checkout for more than an hour at times.

Despite a slow start on Thanksgiving, the National Retail Federation is still projecting a 4.1% increase in overall U.S. spending for the holiday season. After all, retailers should keep in mind that the holiday season is a marathon, and not a sprint!