Shoppers take on Black Friday from Home

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I’m one of those crazy people who get up at o’ dark hundred the day after Thanksgiving to officially start my holiday shopping season.  I’m in the stores by 5am with the goal of crossing everyone off my gift giving list by noon.  It’s an annual tradition.  But, this year the crowds seemed a little lighter to me.  I actually found parking quite easily and didn’t have to wait in marathon lines at the registers.  So, where was everyone?   They were shopping online.  comScore, Inc. just released an update of holiday season online spending.  They reported that on Black Friday, shoppers spent $531 million online buying video games, toys, music, books, and goodness knows what else for their friends and family.  This represents whopping 22% increase over year prior.  In fact, thus far, it’s been a strong e-commerce shopping season.  comScore reports that more than $9.3 billion has been spent online from November 1 – 23, up 17% over 2006.  And, online retail spending was up 29% on Thanksgiving Day.  So, it’s not just the football scores and stats that people are checking out. 

Typically online spending on Black Friday provides a good indication of what’s to come in December.  The significant increases over last year suggest that 2007 may be a good year for retailers.  So what are shoppers buying?  According to comScore the hottest category continues to be video games, consoles and accessories (up 134% over year prior).  Furniture, appliances and equipment is up 36% followed by consumer electronics (up 21%) and sports and fitness (up 20%). According to Forrester, online was the fastest growing media in 2007 and marketers are continuing to increase their interactive ad budgets.  It’s projected that by the end of this year,

U.S. marketers will have spent about $18.4 billion in search, display, email and social media.  If early indicators are correct, this year’s online holiday shopping season will provide them with a handsome return on their investment. 

 As for my annual Black Friday shopping tradition, I’ve decided to try something new and shop online a day earlier next year while watching the Cowboy game on TV.  Sure, I’ll still hit the malls on Friday, but my list will be a whole lot shorter.

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