It's hard to pin down exactly how sales on Black Friday were this year. Some say there was a tremendous increase, something like +16%, but I have not been able to verify that. I'm sure in some categories that may be true -- I read that jewelry was experiencing big success. But most reports say just a slight increase over last year (as in under +1%) although I did read in a couple places that the increase was between +2% - +3%. Not sure how to tell, although the sheer fact that the numbers are a bit all over the place shows that retailers are trying to build perceptions that sales are robust.
It was also interesting to hear that discretionary spending, meaning non-gift spending, was prevalent -- meaning people are capitalizing on sales for themselves, not just for the holidays.
The advertising was aggressive, I can say that for sure. Kohl's, JCPenney, Target, Walmart, and Macy's all had heavy duty broadcast media spending to lure people into their stores at 3:00am, 4:00am, and 5:00am Friday morning. Reports say that Gap and Best Buy were the biggest "winners".
Me, I stayed clear and spent time at home with the family.
And the sales are not over! Today is Cyber Monday, which actually officially began last night at midnight. Cyber Monday is Black Friday online! Online deals that rival the brick and mortar stores -- the earlier you snap them up in theory the better the deal. Interesting to note: how you pay is just as important as where you shop. Additional deals can be had by paying with one credit card over another, etc. The more clever you search, the bigger the deal you may be able to get.
I did tool around a little last night and the deals were popping. The big rush, they say, will be lunchtime on the East Coast when millions jump on their office computer to do a little shopping over their sandwiches and salads.
The most interesting part for me is how both Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become such a huge part of our pop culture -- and a huge barometer for the state of the economy. Although I am clearly no indication because I didn't buy a thing!
What's your experience? Jim.