What Happens When We Make It Easy For Consumers

It’s become an event, hasn’t it? From Boise, to Seattle, to Portland, and across the country weekend promotions, shopper discounts and a huge media buzz increasingly make Black Friday a seemingly can’t miss event. This season was no different as 247 million US shoppers, spending an average of $423 each, visited retail stores and websites over Thanksgiving weekend. All of the activity marked a 9.2% increase over 2011.

While exact sales data is still coming in, the common report is that Black Friday sales may have actually been down versus last year primarily because Thanksgiving Day sales were so high… According to Chase Paymentech in-store sales that took place before, after and (probably) during turkey dinner jumped 71% over last year.

Is it bad that we shop on Thanksgiving Day? Apparently not. The numbers say we want to and retailers made it easy this year as they opened early, enabled mobile purchasing and provided first-come deals. One Drake Cooper retail client reported Black Friday sales that were nearly 30% over last year.

But the most notable story was what happened online where over one billion dollars were spent on Black Friday alone, a 26% increase over last year according to comScore.

Yes there were lines. And while people stood in them they reportedly shopped online. But it’s actually more likely that they were watching YouTube to pass the time where Gangnam Style overtook Justin Bieber during the weekend to become the most-watched video on Earth with 833 million views.

Yes there were scuffles. But reading about these in the media and then noticing that there were only a few across the entire country provided a reminder that the media is a for-profit business that needs to attract readers.

Concluding the long weekend’s activity was Cyber Monday where the currently-being-tabulated calculations put spending around $1.5 billion which is 20% higher than last year.

The retail sector is off to a strong holiday season while overall consumer confidence is currently at a five year high. The NRF expects a 4.1% rise in spending… this past weekend provides support that such a predicted increase is probably correct.

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John Drake
John Drake
December 5, 2012