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Value-Conscious Consumers Drive Black Friday Sales +7%

ShopperTrak Reports Strong Start to Holiday Shopping
Nov 27, 2011 5:56 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Heavy discounting and promotions helped to entice consumers to splurge on Black Friday as the Christmas shopping season began on a positive note despite lingering economic concerns. Retail sales on Black Friday alone, rose 6.6 percent year on year to $11.4 billion while foot traffic increased 5.1 percent, according to ShopperTrak, a provider of retail data.  

''Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and the traditional start to the holiday shopping season,'' said ShopperTrak's founder, Bill Martin. ''Despite our sluggish economy, shoppers proved they are looking for value and ready to buy if given a good customer experience.''

He cautioned, however, that it is still too early to tell whether consumers will sustain the positive trend throughout the entire holiday season. ShopperTrak explained that a record number of pre-promotions and extended shopping hours in the weeks leading up to Black Friday accounted for some of the increases.

''Granted, the economy is still sputtering, but slight increases in the employment rate mean fewer workers fear layoffs,'' Martin added. ''While consumers are still extremely value-conscious, they clearly responded to retailer price reductions and ‘door-buster’ promotions.''

As part of the bargain hunting expected this Christmas holiday season, IBM Coremetrics reported that more consumers are shopping online and reported a 39.3 percent increase in online spending for Thanksgiving Day compared with 2010. Coremetrics noted a 24.3 percent rise in spending for Black Friday. Sales on mobile devices, including the use of tablets, jumped 9.8 percent, which was above the average increase for the year of 3.2 percent through this medium.

''This year marked Thanksgiving’s emergence as the first big spending day of the 2011 holiday season with a record number of consumers shifting their focus from turkey to tablets and the search for the best deals,'' said John Squire, the chief strategy officer of IBM Smarter Commerce. ''This momentum continued into Black Friday, where the big winners were those retailers that delivered a smarter commerce experience with compelling, relevant deals that people could easily access from their channel of choice.''

Metrics firm comScore estimated that online sales on Thanksgiving rose 18 percent to $479 million, while on Black Friday they increased 26 percent to $816 million. Online sales for the period November 1 to November 25 grew 15 percent year on year to $12.74 billion.

Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s chairman, noted that the heavy promotional activity in the run up to Thanksgiving weekend had a positive impact on both brick-and-mortar retail and online sales.

The trend is anticipated to continue in the coming week with Cyber Monday sales expected to set a new record.

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Tags: Avi Krawitz, black friday, retail, shoppertrak, Thanksgiving
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