BitPay’s vice president of marketing, Stephanie Wargo, told BNC News there has been a “slight decrease" in overal sales volume compared to last year’s very successful event. Mainstream sales also suffered, with Black Friday online purchases showing a 10% drop compared to last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) preliminary survey results.
Matthew Shay, the president and chief executive of NRF, explained one reason for the year’s slow sales could be “a significant number of Americans out there for whom the recession is not yet over.” Other reasons cited have been retailers offering huge discounts more regularly through out the year.
According to a recent study about bitcoin transactions by researcher Tim Swanson, 70% of bitcoins have not moved in the last 6 months. The study also states transaction activity peaks when there is a bull market and bottoms when there is a bear market. The study shows a bear market has been in full swing since last year’s price spike of over $1K, during last year’s Bitcoin Black Friday. The price of bitcoin has fallen over $700 since, and sat in the high 300s during this year’s event.
Wholly Hemp, a small company offering hemp infused skin care products has participated in two Bitcoin Black Fridays, having started accepting bitcoin just over a year ago and This year it saw a 44% decrease in its sales on friday. Last year 60% of the company’s Black Friday sales were bitcoin transactions, but this year the number was only 16%.
This year’s sluggish sales figures contradict BitPay and bitcoins merchant adoption, which have both been growing throughout the year. Merchant adoption as a whole has grown by almost 5x since the start of the year. This is also the year we saw the first companies with multi-billion dollar revenues accepting bitcoin. BitPay facilitates a large proportion of these transactions. The company processed in excess of 1m dollars in a single day for the first time this year. The payment processor signed on numerous merchants such as Warner Bros Records, TigerDirect, and SchiffGold, and partnered with PayPal , among others.
BitPay’s results were not all down on last year. According to results, Gyft, NewEgg and Amagi metals all broke records during this year’s Bitcoin Black Friday. Gyft had 62% more transactions than last year, and the value of the transactions increased by 139%. NewEgg set personal records for total dollar value of purchases and number of transactions. Amagi Metals had their highest amount of bitcoin orders for any one day, during the event.
The results also showed bitcoin consumers’ spending habits have changed. Bitcoin related goods and services have been replaced by traditional retail goods. BitPay also saw an 82% increase in merchants completing transactions across their merchant base.
BitPay is not letting this year’s sluggish holiday season sales slow them down. A few days after announcing the Bitcoin Black Friday’s results, they added computer giant, Microsoft, to their growing list of merchants. They are also bullish on merchant adoption growth into and through 2015 and believe they will reach their goal of having a million merchants by the end of 2016.