Despite a soggy economic backdrop, American consumers recently surpassed post-Thanksgiving Day purchasing expectations.
The Black Friday rush, the beginning of the all-important holiday spending period, benefited from healthy crowds and loose wallets. That buoyed a number of segments, though CD sales were not among the winners.
For the week ending November 25th, which includes Black Friday, album sales (physical and digital) dropped 18 percent compared to the comparable week last year. And year-to-date, cumulative album sales are lagging 14.4 percent, according to figures published by Nielsen Soundscan.
As usual, the digital story offered some relief, but not enough to counteract the broader declines. A-la-carte downloads improved 43.9 percent, and digital albums gained 34.4 percent. But digital totals remain a modest percentage of total physical sales, despite increased traffic online. Looking ahead, download sales numbers are likely to feel a bump from Cyber Monday volumes, a relatively new post-Thanksgiving Day phenomenon.