According to analysts, the Black Friday shopping phenomenon has shown signs of moving online, with no repeat of last year’s chaos in some stores.
The 2014 Black Friday saw buyers fighting over bargains, websites crashing and delivery companies struggling to cope.
Black Friday, the discount day has its origins in the US, where it takes place the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally kick-starting the Christmas shopping period.
Online activity is said to be up, but expectations are for a longer period of discounts and shopping.
In the US, some retailers started offering deals early.
Macy’s said about 15,000 shoppers waited outside its Manhattan department store in readiness for its opening on Thanksgiving evening.
Amazon offered discounts in the lead up to the shopping event.
Washington-based National Retail Federation estimates that about 135.8 million Americans will shop during the four-day holiday compared with 133.7 million in 2014.
The US shopping bonanza has spread not only in Europe, but also countries such as Brazil and India.
Black Friday is still dwarfed by China’s Singles Day – the world’s biggest online shopping event. On November 11, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba reported sales worth 91.2 billion yuan ($14.3 billion), a 60% increase from 2014.
On Cyber Monday, the biggest day of the year for e-commerce in the US, online sales rose 18.4% to $1.735 billion, a record for a single day, according to comScore.
Online sales grew at a torrid pace, rising 22% between Thursday and Cyber Monday, according to data firm comScore.
That does not include sales made using a mobile device such as a smart phone or a tablet.
Cyber Monday fell on December 2 in 2013.
The long Thanksgiving weekend sets the tone for the holiday season, when retailers get about 30% of their annual sales.
Total in-store sales between Thanksgiving Day on Thursday and Sunday rose 1% compared to the same period last year, while the number of visits to stores fell 4%, ShopperTrak said. ShopperTrak has forecast sales at stores will rise 2.4% for November and December together.
During “Black Weekend” 2013, shoppers spent an estimated $22.2 billion, compared to last year’s $22 billion, said ShopperTrak.
Cyber Monday fell on December 2 in 2013
On Sunday, the National Retail Federation estimated Americans had spent 2.9% less over the weekend.
Shoppers appeared to be waiting a bit longer to do their Christmas shopping, perhaps holding out for deals. An Ipsos poll of almost 1,400 Americans over the weekend found 77% had done at least some of their holiday shopping by Black Friday, compared to 81% on the same day last year.
According to IBM data, sales through mobile devices rose 55%.
The biggest beneficiaries of the surge in online sales were marketplaces run by e-commerce leaders Amazon.com and eBay, according to data released by ChannelAdvisor, a provider of e-commerce software to retailers that tracks online sales.
Sales on Amazon‘s and eBay‘s marketplaces rose 30% on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
They did well in part because of how well suited their sites are to use on mobile devices, said ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo.
Wal-Mart Stores said Monday was the all-time highest online sales day but declined to give a figure or a growth rate compared with last year.
2013 Black Friday sales dipped for the first time in seven years, according to the National Retail Federation.
US consumers spent around $1.7 billion less over the holiday weekend, with the average shopper spending $407.02 from Thursday to Sunday.
That’s down from $423.55 in 2012.
Retailers blamed stagnant wages and economic uncertainty for keeping wallets shut, as they slashed prices to lure reluctant shoppers.
In total, the National Retail Federation estimates that US shoppers spent around $57.4 billion this year, down 2.7% from $59.1 billion last year.
Sales on Black Friday itself were down, as retailers opened stores on Thanksgiving Thursday and offered more details earlier in the week to entice shoppers.
According to market research firm ShopperTrack, Black Friday foot traffic was down 11% and sales slumped by 13%.
2013 Black Friday sales dipped for the first time in seven years
Despite the gloomy start to holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation said it still expected holiday sales to surpass last year’s spending.
One beacon of hope for nervous retailers is that US consumers have spent more on online shopping than ever before.
“We expect Cyber Monday to be bigger than ever,” said National Retail Federation’s Matthew Shay in a statement.
The day, launched in 2005 by online retail association Shop.org, became the biggest US online shopping day in 2011, according to comScore.
But it’s not just one day any more: in an effort to lure penny-pinched shoppers, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, declared this entire week “Cyber Week” and said it would offer sales every hour throughout the period.
However, Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy have all lowered their holiday shopping forecasts, pointing to declining consumer confidence, high unemployment, and increasing price competition as hurting their bottom lines.
But if US consumers are unwilling to part with their dollars, international brands may take comfort in the increasingly global nature of Black Friday.
According to Borderfree, a company that helps build global online shopping sites for companies like Macy’s and J. Crew, US retailers saw online sales to international consumers rise 50% this Black Friday compared to last year.
Shoppers in Russia, South Korea, China, Germany and Sweden were the biggest spenders.
According to Borderfree, retailers can expect a “second peak” on Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday on December 2 kicks off Cyber Week 2013 at Wal-Mart.
Cyber Monday one of the year’s biggest shopping events for fantastic prices on electronics.
During Cyber Week, you’ll find special Cyber Monday deals that last all week long.
Cyber Monday kicks off Cyber Week 2013 at Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart’s Cyber Monday deals and Cyber Week specials are some of the year’s best shopping values, so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to shop and save. Plus, you’ll save even more with free shipping on thousands of items.
Get ready to save with these special Wal-Mart Cyber Monday deals.
Plus, sign up for Walmart.com emails, where you’ll find the latest updates on Cyber Week 2013.
As Black Friday’s deals tend to be steepest when it comes to technology and electronics, they also involve crazy crowds and long lines, you can take advantage of all the best Cyber Monday deals.
Amazon will surely be offering deep discounts but are keeping mum so far on the items. Bookmark Amazon’s Cyber Monday page to keep checking back for details and be set for the big day.
Best Buy will be offering a wide variety of slashed prices and doorbusters on all the tech items you want most: laptops, mobile phones, digital camera, HDTVs, and more. To stay on top of the deals, sign up for Best Buy’s Deal of the Day email to be among the first to find out about Best Buy’s great Cyber Monday 2013 deals.
Cyber Monday 2013
Target will be having an entire Cyber Week complete with daily doorbusters. While all the details haven’t been revealed, discounts on items like iPads, PS4, Xbox One, Blu-rays, and more will be on sale. To be one of the first to know about Target’s Cyber Week deals, make sure to sign up for Target’s special offers.
Wal-Mart is known for their insane Black Friday deals and while they have yet to reveal all their Cyber Monday deals, are bet is that they’re pretty sweet.
Sears typically offers an extra 5% to 15% off during its Cyber Monday sale. Sears will be offering a “Build-Your-Own” Play Station 4 Bundle for Shop Your Way Members. The sweet deal includes a console, controller, and a choice of four different games for $519.97. The purchase also comes with 10,000 points which is the equivalent of a $100 Sears/Kmart gift card.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year, and companies go all out with marketing.
Most brands save their best online deals for the weekend after Thanksgiving, giving consumers a chance to buy coveted items at slashed prices just in time for the holidays.
Whether you are online shopper (and you love Cyber Monday) or love the thrill of digging through a bargain bin (and love Black Friday), we suggest preparing yourself for this momentous shopping extravaganza with these tips:
1. Create a budget
Before you create your list, you need a carefully planned budget. This will further help you avoid those impulse purchases.
2. Make a list and check it twice
Shopping a sale can be dangerous, as the idea of markdowns can have you purchasing items you don’t need. To avoid spending on frivolous items, make a list and don’t deviate from it.
3. Check return policies
The downside to buying on final sale or clearance usually means no returns. Or, the time period for returns is short, so know before you go.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year, and companies go all out with marketing
4. Dress appropriately
There is no need to dress to impress on Black Friday. Everyone is there for one reason: to shop. Sneakers and leggings are appropriate attire for efficient shopping. Also, it makes time in the fitting room quick and easy.
5. Bring cash for Black Friday
The line at the register can seem neverending on Black Friday. Don’t be the one that holds it up because of a faulty credit card.
6. Check the lay of the land
It is best to know the territory. Time spent looking for the electronics section is time lost.
7. Drive-by shopping
Finding a parking space can be nightmare. And by the time you find a spot, the store would be practically half empty. Arrange for a ride there and home.
8. Shop with your home computer on Cyber Monday
If Cyber Monday is your day to splurge, make sure you do it in the comfort of your home with your own computer. For security reasons, you don’t want to be shopping on a public computer.
9. Shop with a credit card or Paypalon Cyber Monday
Scams are common online, so make sure you avoid the heartache that comes with bank fraud—read: don’t use debit cards. Most credit cards come with anti-fraud protection. Paypal is another secure way to shop online.
10. Get Cyber Monday coupons in advance
Most websites have promo codes a few days before, offering even more of a discount on select items.
1. Start tracking store sales in advance. Follow your favorite retailers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest before Black Friday. Not only will they reveal details about sales before they happen, many stores will also offer exclusive discounts on those sites. In the past, stores like RadioShack have offered savings to shoppers who “checked in” with the brand on Foursquare, a common smartphone app.
2. Shop online in the wee hours of Thanksgiving. Many sellers activate their online deals the day before -typically between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. ET on Thursday morning. So if you have your eye on a particular product or store, look early that morning to see if the savings are live yet. Any sale will usually hold through Friday. True, prices may go lower on Cyber Monday. But the odds of finding a good price are in your favor.
Focus on only Black Friday’s best bargains so you’re not tempted to buy in the heat of the moment
3. On Black Friday, start online. The prices on Friday can be awesome, but about 70% of Black Friday deals are also available online, and 78% of them come with a free shipping offer, according to research from DealNews.com. Check just after midnight on Friday morning for new deals that didn’t go live on Thursday. Bonus: If an online retailer doesn’t have a physical store in your state, you may not have to pay sales tax.
4. Go for electronics. If you have a Blu-ray player or smartphone in mind, Black Friday is the day to shop, both online and in-store, according to experts. In past years, Apple has discounted iPads, iPods and other tech by 10% to 15% on Black Friday. Television prices will be at their lowest, too. In general, the best deal will be on an off-brand flat-screen, which is often discounted more deeply than a brand like Samsung.
5. Wait for Cyber Monday to purchase clothing. If you want a new outfit, hold off until Cyber Monday. Soft goods like cosmetics, shoes and apparel carry bigger discounts that day because retailers don’t want to compete with Friday’s giant tech bargains (a $5 shirt may not impress you when it’s next to a $200 TV). Last year Eddie Bauer gave 40% off on Cyber Monday, versus 30% on Black Friday. Also look for great travel deals on Monday.
Shoppers who browse the digital aisles at Wal-Mart’s website can get a jump start on their holiday shopping.
Wal-Mart is already making a number of so-called “Black Friday” deals on electronics available through its website. Included in the early digital discounts are sharp savings on seven tablet computers and TVs, as well as holiday pricing for 300 other items, The Associated Press notes.
The early deals come as Wal-Mart looks to get a leg up on rivals in what is expected to be a highly competitive holiday shopping season. At least one big-screen TV will be marked down by 36% in one of the seven top deals. In another deal, a tablet will see a 51% discount.
Wal-Mart is already making a number of so-called “Black Friday” deals on electronics available through its website
This year’s early discounts follow 100 deals offered on the day after Halloween last year, though those offers were confined to home products.
A Wal-Mart executive indicated that the decision to offer the seven electronics deals was made last month. He noted that a challenging economy was pressuring consumers to start looking for deals as soon as possible.
Retailers are feeling uncertain about the upcoming shopping season, with some cutting back on the number of seasonal workers they hire.
Industry experts say that the pressure of a tight economy will force retailers to eventually abandon Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the rush to attract customers earlier in the season.
Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday: As the two streams of commerce – retail stores and online stores – converge, it’s hard to say where the best deals will be.
And, of course, many of the stores that consumers might visit in person are the same brand names that one might visit online.
But who ever said bargain hunting was easy? You have to do some homework.
To scope out Cyber Monday, definitely check the CyberMonday websites, and also the sites of any of your favorite stores or brands.
For Black Friday, check out the local newspapers, TV and radio ads, as well as looking online, on Thanksgiving Day.
5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Cyber Monday Rather Than Black Friday Sales
It’s easier and faster.
If you were busy with family or travel on Thanksgiving Friday and missed the in-store sales, Cyber Monday gives you another opportunity to take advantage of reductions.
You can easily compare prices online.
You can shop in your pj’s, from work, or while waiting for the plumber.
You don’t need a babysitter.
The five cons of Cyber Monday? You can’t “kick the tires” and see the merchandise, it might be hard to access a computer for shopping purposes, you’ll have to wait for shipping, and some people hate returning purchases by mail. Most importantly, your boss really might not love it if you spend Cyber Monday shopping at your desk!
Cyber Monday vs Black Friday
5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Black Friday Rather than Cyber Monday
You can actually see what you are buying — measure it, try it on, see if you like the color.
The prices might be better.
Not everything that’s on sale on Black Friday will be available on Cyber Monday.
It’s an outing. You can bring a friend or spouse for fun and advice.
If you don’t go, you might miss some great bargains!
The five cons of Black Friday? Some of the merchandise is lower-end; prices may continue to drop as the holiday season approaches; it’s too easy to over spend in the midst of a buying frenzy, it’s crowded, and the real bargains may be limited in quantity and sold to earlybird shoppers.
So, when to shop? Whatever your personal answer is, the smart thing to do is decide beforehand not just what you want to purchase, but also your budget parameters.
That way, come post-Thanksgiving Tuesday (a day for which, gratefully, there’s no retailing name yet), you won’t feel like a turkey with a hangover of buyer’s remorse!
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