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Ear to the Ground

Black Friday Sets Record, Cyber Monday Looks to Follow

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Posted on Nov 26, 2012
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Shoppers hunt for bargains at a Walmart on Black Friday.

It appears the controversial decision by some retailers to start Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving has paid off. In the four-day period, a record number of Americans shopped online or in person, spending a whopping $59 billion in the process.

The Christian Science Monitor:

It’s estimated that U.S. shoppers hit stores and websites at record numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday, setting a Black Friday record. They were attracted by retailers’ efforts to make shopping easier, including opening stores on Thanksgiving evening, updating mobile shopping applications for smartphones and tablets, and expanding shipping and layaway options.

All told, a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the four-day weekend starting on Thanksgiving, up 9.2 percent of last year, according to a survey of 4,000 shoppers that was conducted by research firm BIGinsight for the trade group. Americans spent more too: The average holiday shopper spent $423 over the entire weekend, up from $398 last year. Total spending over the four-day weekend totaled $59.1 billion, up 12.8 percent from 2011.

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Retailers are also hoping to cash in on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving during which online shopping sales traditionally spike.

The Associated Press via Businessweek:

It’s estimated that this year’s Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day of the year for the third year in a row: According to research firm comScore, Americans are expected to spend $1.5 billion, up 20 percent from last year on Cyber Monday, as retailers have ramped up their deals to get shoppers to click on their websites.

...How well retailers fare on Cyber Monday will offer insight into Americans’ evolving shopping habits during the holiday shopping season, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. With the growth in high speed Internet access and the wide use of smartphones and tablets, people are relying less on their work computers to shop than they did when Shop.org, the digital division of trade group The National Retail Federation, introduced the term “Cyber Monday.”

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If you ever for a moment doubted how committed the American consumer is, check out this compilation of videos from Black Friday. And then go have yourself a good cry.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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