Black Friday sales rose 6.6% as compared to last year, giving retailers a fast start off the gates in hopes of a stronger than expected holiday shopping season. Sales were up across all product genres, but the largest discounts and sales were for consumer electronics items. Just under one-fourth of total Black Friday shoppers purchased a consumer electronics product this year, compared to 15% in 2010. TVs were the desired item this year, likely a combination of advertising featuring TV deals more than other products, cheaper prices overall than last year, and new technology like 3D.
Black Friday, the first official day of the holiday shopping season, is often seen as a strong predictor of total holiday spending. Sluggish numbers often foretell a disappointing season, while larger than expected sales – as is the case this year – can often lead to large increases in profits for retailers. The correlation between Black Friday spending and total holiday spending is not perfect, but it usually trends correctly.
Finally, Black Friday online spending jumped a whopping 24% this year, as consumers not interested at all in battling mob crowds logged on to Amazon.com in the comfort of their homes. The exponential rise in smartphone users lead to a significant increase in mobile shopping as well. Mobile traffic to retailer websites increased 3-times over 2010, as did purchases made from a mobile device. Traditional “brick and mortar” stores will have to get even savvier at offering discounts, as consumers can now easily check their mobile phones for even better discounts while navigating both aisles and people by foot.