NPD Books: US Market Underperforming in the Holidays

From Publishing Perspectives:

Following Monday’s report (December 5) on the Association of American Publishers‘ (AAP) September 2022 StatShot report, we look today at the new report on the United States’ market conditions in November from NPD Books‘ Kristen McLean.

As you’ll remember, the NPD BookScan track runs much closer to date than StatShot, and McLean is looking this time at the month of November. What she sees prompts her to write, “It’s now clear” that the 2022 holiday book sales season “is underperforming 2021—and not just due to a later start.

“In the latest retail numbers from our macroeconomic team, the 2022 Black Friday week underperformed compared to the past three years, only exceeding the sales revenue results during the same week in 2020, during the first year of the pandemic. While increases in foot traffic were reported widely in the press, that didn’t necessarily translate into more sales on either a revenue or a unit basis.”

. . . .

“Black Friday week marked the sixth consecutive week of in-store sales revenue declines for US discretionary general merchandise.”

. . . .

Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief retail industry advisor, a colleague of McLean’s, writes, “Black Friday appears to have brought more shoppers out to the stores, but that traffic clearly didn’t amount to more spending. Retailers and manufacturers need to find new ways to engage the consumer in making purchases, converting consumers from social browsers to active buyers.”

. . . .

Turning back to books, McLean writes in her report to the news media, “The book market was right in line with these trends. At the top line, the United States’ book market finished November at 6 percent below 2021, on a monthly volume of 61.8 million units. That’s 8.5 million units higher than October, but 10.4 million units under November 2021.

“In the book market, the overall numbers are still within historic norms, but key categories like adult nonfiction and juvenile fiction are definitely underperforming so far this season. Nothing seems to be breaking out this year compared to what we’ve been seeing in adult fiction.”

. . . .

“As I said in last month’s update, I believe the lower level of spending this year is fundamentally about consumer economics and sentiment. I also still believe the most likely scenario for the total market finish is exactly where we are now: 6 percent below 2021.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives