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Not So Black Friday: Sales Up, Despite the Recession
Black Friday retail sales have boomed in the past five years which was a period of recession, market slumps and high unemployment rates in the US. Last year, Black Friday in-store sales increased by 6.6 percent to $11.4 billion, approximately $1 billion more than 2010. Online sales fared even better: a staggering growth of almost 25 percent was recorded, showing that many shoppers didnt wait until Cyber Monday to bag online deals.

Polls issued by the National Retail Federation found that 86 million shoppers braved the cold or browsed online in 2011, while 29 million early bird shoppers took advantage of stores opening on Thanksgiving. Not only did customers turn out in record numbers, they also spent more than ever before, an average of $398 per person, up from $365 in 2010. Retailers continue to be keenly aware that they must tap this spending power: offering extended opening hours, increasingly varied sales offers and promotions, and openly trying to outbid their competitors.

Targeting online shoppers has become increasingly important. Online sales have been steadily rising over the last few years: in 2010, not only did the number of online shoppers increase by 15 percent, but their spending went up by a further 12.1 percent. For consumers, shopping online has many advantages; they dont have to deal with holiday traffic, packed stores, or long lines at the checkouts, and instead can make purchases from the comfort of their homes or, indeed, on the go. Mobile shopping, in particular, is growing in popularity; while 5.6 percent of online shoppers used mobile devices on Black Friday in 2010, 17 percent actually shopped on them in 2011, according to researchers at Coremetrics.

Computers, tablets and smartphones are not only increasingly used to facilitate shopping, these and other consumer electronics, also represent the market segment experiencing the strongest sales growth. In 2011, for example, this segment had the largest gain in terms of numbers of shoppers and represented almost a quarter of all Black Friday sales. Black Friday computer deals and smartphone promotions are some of the most popular offers available to shoppers they either take advantage of the sales to upgrade their own devices, or shop for the latest gadgets for Christmas presents. Customers looking to buy the very latest consumer electronic deals at discounted prices were especially keen on midnight doorbuster deals: an incredible half of all Black Friday sales were made between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., according to research from NPD.


With retailers this year set to continue their battle over customers competing for the earliest and longest opening times and offering promotions galore Black Friday 2012 looks likely to be a repeat success.

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