Tag: black friday

American families stay at home and spend like crazy

Online spending by bargain hunters in the US has climbed to more than $1 billion as Americans stay home and binge spend.

The Adobe Digital Index saw internet sales surging almost 14 percent from a year ago as Americans could not be bothered queuing for the brick-and-mortar shopping sales.

At the start of the first holiday shopping season since the election of Donald Trump as president on November 8, US consumers spent like there was no tomorrow, which is probably a safe bet. More than $1.15 billion online between midnight and 5 pm ET on Thursday, splashed the cash,  according to Adobe.

Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, has started the holiday shopping season in the United States with retailers offering steep discounts and turning a profit. But its popularity has been on the wane given the emergence of online shopping and cheap deals throughout the year.

US stores are now opening on Thanksgiving to try and boost in-store sales, while retailers have been offering online deals weeks in advance to cope with lower demand and stiff pricing competition.

The holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts, sometimes as much as 85 percent.

The National Retail Federation, which has been optimistic with projections in the past, expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion.

“Online discounts are earlier and a lot bigger than last year,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst at Adobe Digital Index.

IBM analyses sales last Friday

IBM logoThe day after Thanksgiving is called by shops “Black Friday” in the USA and has turned into an orgy of American people buying computer and other kit.

Now IBM has had a chance to analyse sales on Friday using its own IBM Watson trend app, it has come out with the items that well-off people spent their money on last Friday.

Samsung, Sony and LG TVs seem to be at the top of the tech lists, according to IBM, followed by Apple watches and Beats by Dre.

Apparently American are also buying brands offering so called “barefoot running” shoes from Nike and others.

Many people are buying kit online, and using their mobiles, with IBM saying that sales for the weekend in the USA were up by 25.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Smartphones accounted for 44 percent of all online traffic, up 65.7 percent compared to Thaksgiving last year.

The average order value was $130.57.

Social networks fail to entice Black Friday shoppers

Ever since the US conglomerates began tempting families away from spending another day with each other after Thanksgiving, turning it into the shopping frenzy of Black Friday, it has become a pretty good metric for going over the latest consumer buying trends. According to IBM’s extensive data sifting there were some interesting changes.

Online sales for Thanksgiving grew 17.4 percent, while web sales for Black Friday swelled 20.7 percent on the previous year. Almost one quarter of all consumers used a mobile device to visit a retail site, which was up from 14.3 percent last year, although mobile sales were at 16 percent.

That is still an impressive boost from 9.8 percent in 2011. Most consumers tracked bargains in-store, online, and on their mobile devices to make sure they got the best prices. IBM noted that 58 percent of all consumers on Black Friday used smartphones to browse on the day.

There was a 20.68 percent increase on sales overall, however people were spending slightly less per order, on average, and with fewer items. 

Of those that did visit using mobile devices, iPad traffic led the way with 9.75 percent of all visits.

This was followed by 8.71 percent for shoppers using an iPhone, and 5.53 percent for those using Android devices. 

Social media was useful for spreading positive sentiment and helping brand image, as most were happy with promotions, shipping, convenience, and the retailers, at a three to one ratio.

However, advertisers on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are still struggling to monetise the networks, with all of the above generating just 0.34 percent of all online sales throughout Black Friday – a decrease of over 35 percent from 2011. 

Ye Booke of Black Friday


And it came to pass that there was in the Land of the Free a special holiday where the people did celebrate murdering the native population to bring the LORD to the country. And the inhabitants did cut off the head of a large bird to the LORD and did rend its entrails and deep fry them, for this was pleasing unto the LORD. And the people of the Land of the Free did eat unto themselves pie of pumpkin and say unto themselves “we are the rulers of all.” And the Lord was pleased with the Land of the Free and gave unto it a mighty Empire which stretched from the Pacific Ocean unto the Atlantic and no man was poor, at least no man worth speaking of. But as years passed, the people did wanteth shiny toys and cared not for the LORD. “Hath we not our iPods”, they did say unto themselves. “Hath we not the keys unto the Walled Kingdom of Apple and needeth not the LORD any more?” And Lo, they made unto themselves a false holiday which was known as Black Friday and there they would queue for their gadgets holding their gold before them. And great was the demand for the tablets, and the PCs and the music players of delight. And the leaders of the Land of the Free were happy for was it not written in their constitution that the economy shalt be powered by gold and that people should buy the electronic dreams yeah even unto bankruptcy. Many continued to make the sacrifices of the Turkey and the pie of pumpkin but they saw it not as a feast of thanksgiving unto the LORD but as occasion for gluttony and the showing off of their shiny gadgets. And lo, the LORD spaketh and say “I hath regretted that I ever made the Land of the Free, for they worship the false gods of the tablet, the PC and the music player. I shall wipeth them out in a flood for they pisseth me off.” But there came before the LORD an Angel, whose name is a Mystery, who did spake and point out that the LORD promised that he would not do that flooding business ever again, for that was what that rainbow thing was all about. And the LORD admitted that this was so, so instead he decided to bless the people of China instead and he made sure that all the gadgets were made in the Land of Gog and Magoog instead. And everytime the people of the Land of the Free did queue outside the stores on the day which they were supposed to thankful unto the LORD they did actually give all their money unto China. And thus the Land of the Free grew weak while the Land of Gog and Magoog grew strong. And soon the Land of Gog and Magoog was loaning the Land of the Free its own money, and the people were mightily in debt. And soon it seemed they were doomed. For it is written, thou shalt not pisseth off a major deity, least thou wanteth to be out of pocket by a large sum. For the LORD maketh a Land to be fruitful and bringeth forth deepeth fried turkey or shalt make it a pauper amongst nations, yea like the Romans.

Black Friday replaces Thanksgiving

Here’s the unavoidable truth: Black Friday is as much of a holiday in America as Thanksgiving.

For some of us, lining up in the cold for gadgets and toys has replaced the traditional turkey, stuffing and family togetherness as hallmarks of the holiday season.

I’ve been covering Black Friday for the last four years. In the past it’s always started the same way, with a frenzied drive to every Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us in the Dallas area. But this year I was in Winchester, Virginia, and it made for a somewhat different experience. Black Friday here coincides neatly with the heart of the hunting season. Which meant about a fifth of the crowd was decked out in full camouflage.

There was a severed deer head in the back of one truck. Someone had enough time before shopping to process the carcass, but not the head. I can understand the rush though. Black Friday this year started much earlier than even I was used to.

In prior years the stores open their doors around 7 AM for the first waves of customers. This year, Best Buy kicked things off at goddamn midnight. And the store didn’t close again until 10 PM on Black Friday. Which means the poor blue shirts inside were pulled away from their families on Thanksgiving many hours earlier than usual. But hey, it’s a worthy sacrifice to allow thousands of American families to buy 42″ HDTVs for only $200.

That was the king of deals this year. And it’s probably more accurate to say that ‘dozens’ of families managed to snag it. The store I was at only stocked ten of them. Which didn’t stop the managers from ordering their employees to lie about the number of TVs they had in.

“We have stacks and stacks of them,” one blue shirt walked through the line assuring customers. “We ordered a ton.”

A hundred or so customers fled their spot in line at the news that none of the doorbuster’s remained. Which still left hundreds more twisting around the back of the store. I made my way to the very tip of the line to talk to the fortunate few who were early enough to receive a voucher.

At the head was a family of six. A husband and wife, their son and daughter and respective spouses. They’d been camped out in a tent since the previous morning.

“We didn’t do Thanksgiving this year.” said the family matriarch, “This is sort of our new family tradition.”

Standing out in a freezing cold line for two nights seems like a poor replacement for turkey, liquor and heating. But they seemed happy enough. Which is more than I can say for most of the line. The further back I went, the angrier people were.

“They lied to us. We came here expecting the deals they advertised. Why would they send out hundreds of ads if they only had ten?”

I asked why they were still in line… and got the predictable response.

“We need a new TV. So we’ll end up paying more money for a smaller one. But I won’t be coming out here again.”

I’m not sure how much I believed them. It’s easy enough to complain about the unethical behaviour of a company like Best Buy. But it’s more difficult to actually stop giving them money. Which, of course, is why they always get away with it.

Most of the line had no lofty ambitions for doorbuster deals, or a chip on their shoulder over missing out. They had modest wish lists. Video games and monitors and printers and other small ticket items. One teen waited three hours to save $60 on a 3 terabyte hard drive- not at all unreasonable.

Over and over again, people told me they’d made the decision to drop by at the last minute, out of a desire to save a little money and finally see just how crazy this Black Friday phenomenon really was. They laughed, talked to their mates in line and socialised while they huddled against the cold.

At the end of the line I ran into a young man from India. He had no wish list, save a burning desire to see just how crazy Americans can be. He found the whole thing amusing, but essentially benign. I asked if he had any interest in buying a new TV, or any of the other discounted items.

“No, I don’t need them.”

Which is not a sentence I heard anywhere else that night. 

LCD TVs make it to buyers Black Friday shopping lists

LCD TVs will be top on shoppers buying lists this Black Friday according to the NPD group.

The market research company has said that LED-backlit LCD TV prices have fallen 44 percent from October 2009 to October 2010 to $1,106, while traditional (CCFL) LCD TVs have also seen significant price drops, declining 24 percent to $435.

Ross Rubin, executive director of Industry Analysis at NPD, said: “Holiday circulars consistently feature flat-panel TVs as the marquee door buster electronics category on Black Friday.”

 He said the price drops this year are as a result of retailers seeking to offset several months of year-over-year flat-panel revenue drops driven by slowing price declines and rising household penetration.

“While LED TV pricing is dropping more quickly than that of traditional LCD sets, LED-backlit models still command a significant price premium,” he added.

Graph1The company however pointed out that while prices for LED chips are falling steadily, the pricing dynamic for the LCD panels themselves is somewhat more complex. This is because after the economic downturn, demand returned quicker than expected in 2009, and the supply chain was faced with product shortages during the second half of the year that fed rising prices for LCD TV panels into the first half of 2010.

Since it takes about three months to move through the LCD TV supply chain, the rising panel prices led to slower average selling price declines at retail during the first half of 2010.

“Because profit margins have thinned in the LCD TV category, brands and retailers are somewhat at the mercy of the supply chain when trying to push retail prices lower,” added Paul Gagnon, director of North America TV market research at DisplaySearch.

“The result has been a cooling of growth in some markets, such as the US. As often happens in such cycles, the resulting slowdown in demand for key components including LCD TV panels has once again shifted the supply chain back towards oversupply.”

LCD TV panel prices began falling once again in Q2’10 particularly for the two most popular size categories, 32” and 40/42”, which were 10 percent and 5 percent lower in Q3’10 than they were in Q3’09. Gagon warned that the falling panel prices in Q2’10 and Q3’10 will have a direct effect on retail pricing during the Q4’10 holiday.

“If consumers remain sensitive to falling prices, it could help jump start demand in the US,” Gagnon concluded.