Smaller Crowds Mark Start of Black Friday
Retailers opening their stores in the early morning hours of Black Friday are reporting smaller crowds than in previous years. According to Reuters and the Los Angeles Times, shoppers are seeing less competition for the bargains that can be found in-store. New data from Adobe Systems suggests that consumers are increasingly choosing to do their Black Friday shopping online. As of this morning's update, $490 million in online sales have been generated between midnight and 8:30 a.m. ET. Adobe is forecasting that $3.05 billion will be spent online this Black Friday, an 11.3 percent year-over-year growth.
Total Retail's Take: The declining importance of Black Friday has been discussed for the last couple of years now, but maybe this year truly is when we start to see a drop-off in brick-and-mortar shopping on the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season. More people are shopping online (including mobile), and retailers are now spreading their "Black Friday deals" over longer periods of time, not just Black Friday itself, so the urgency to wake up at the crack of dawn and head out into the cold morning to fight with traffic and other shoppers to snare the best deals has lost its appeal to a lot of people.