Black Friday, Cyber Monday Boost Retailers

Black Friday, Cyber Monday Boost Retailers

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Cyber Monday sales are still being calculated, but one thing we already know is that this year’s Black Friday online sales increased by nine percent over 2009 according to comScore.[1] That’s good news for retailers who endured some of their worst Christmas selling seasons in 2008 and 2009.

Brick and mortar sales take a bit longer to calculate, but the evidence can be seen at local malls and retailing outlets which were packed throughout the weekend. In a bid to woo customers, some stores opened for business on Thanksgiving Day while others have been holding “Black November” sales throughout the month. Retailers appear to be living by the supposition that, “Any sale is better than no sale at all,” when pricing their wares. The result is extraordinary savings for customers.

Online Preference

Offering his comments about the Thanksgiving weekend comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said, “Although Black Friday is known for the flurry of activity occurring in brick-and-mortar retail stores, online shopping is increasingly becoming the refuge of those preferring to avoid the crowds and long lines.”

Online shopping continues to take a bigger slice of the retailing pie. Added Fulgoni, “The $648 million in online spending this Black Friday represents the heaviest online spending day of the season-to-date and a solid increase over last year’s Black Friday. Interestingly, we are also seeing consumers beginning to buy online in a more meaningful way on Thanksgiving Day, which has historically seen low buying activity.”

Amazon Wins

Amazon appears to have been the biggest winner online, holding off brick and mortar heavyweight Walmart who instituted a free shipping program for purchases covering more than 60,000 items. Walmart has long offered free to store shipping, but under this arrangement, consumers can have these items sent directly to their homes.

Walmart’s offer runs through Dec. 20 according to The New York Times.[2] Amazon, who was expected to be hurt by the Walmart offer, saw its online traffic increase by 25 percent on Black Friday. Surprisingly, Walmart.com saw its traffic fall by one percent while its chief competitor, Target, enjoyed a nine percent increase. Best Buy enjoyed a marginal increase of one percent.

Christmas Boost

The heart of the buying season is still several weeks away, the time when retailers hope will translate into continued improved sales. With Christmas falling on a Saturday this year, most online retailers can expect to process orders as late as Monday for guaranteed delivery by Friday, Christmas Eve. Some retailers will be able to fill orders on December 23, with costly overnight shipping bringing presents to households the following day.

References

[1] ComScore.com: Black Friday Boasts $648 Million in U.S. Online Holiday Spending, Up 9 Percent vs. Year Ago

[2] The New York Times: Wal-Mart Says “Try This On”: Free Shipping

Photo Credit: Marek Kowalik

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Categories: Money News