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US Shoppers Dole Out $2B in Black Friday Early Online Sales

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“The frenzy associated with Black Friday shopping was missing this year as U.S. retailers offered earlier discounts and more consumers shopped online, though spot checks around the country showed traffic picked up after a sluggish morning,” according to Reuters. Photo Credit: Consumer Reports

A reported $2 billion in early online sales ain’t bad, and that’s what Black Friday brought, according to published reports.

By Andy B. Mayfair

“The frenzy associated with Black Friday shopping was missing this year as U.S. retailers offered earlier discounts and more consumers shopped online, though spot checks around the country showed traffic picked up after a sluggish morning,” according to Reuters.

Black Friday “remains important for holiday shopping but its relevance is fading amid early promotions, with six fewer sales days between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” the Reuters report continued. “That has pulled spending forward. More than half of consumers polled by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the first week of November had begun making purchases.”

The annual shopping day was even better, according to CNN. “Americans with a hearty appetite for online deals pulled out their smartphones and, for the first time, shelled out more than $4 billion on Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season. Thanksgiving Day’s record online sales of $4.2 billion — about half of which occurred before the pumpkin pies even hit the table — set the stage for a busy Black Friday and potentially another blockbuster holiday season for retailers, according to Adobe Analytics data.”

One feature of brick and mortar retailing that has come to be synonymous with Black Friday is stupidity and violence. The annual melees arrived as expected, with “chaos breaking out around the world, with fights, stampedes and a gun scare at shops in the US, Brazil, and South Africa,” according to The Sun. “Security guards were filmed fighting to stem the flow of people as shoppers jostled to grab the best deals. A brawl was seen breaking out amid Black Friday sales in Pennsylvania.”

In Fremont, California, “there were reports of a gun scare after someone shouted the word “shooter” in a branch of retail giant Target,” The Sun added. “One person tweeted they had had to “sprint out with my mom out the emergency exit” while another warned others to “stay clear of the area” after the incident, which proved to be a false alarm.”

Others, however, see Black Friday mania waning. This year, only 36% of people said they planned to do most of their holiday shopping on Black Friday — down from 51% just three years ago, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Black Friday is still a very major event, both for retailers and for shopping. But historically, it’s been the major event and now it’s just a part of the overall season,” Steve Barr, who leads PwC’s consumer markets practice, told npr.org.

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