BY LEVAR ALONZO
Retailers and consumers on the weekend after thanksgiving aren’t only stuffed with food and leftovers but are bursting with glee of impending profits and deals. Black friday is traditionally the largest shopping day of the year and usually have crowds of people lined up for miles just to shop.
As the economy bumps along at a sluggish pace, and this year’s shorter than usual window between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sales and promotions began as early as Halloween, making this holiday shopping season more diluted than last year. That left Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday, the holiday season’s customary kick off, looking slightly gloom.
Over the course of the weekend, consumers spent about $2 billion less on holiday shopping than they did the year before as many shoppers turned to online and mobile shopping, reported research firm ShopperTrak.
“Yea the lines were there but I guess shoppers took advantage of deals that were up way before the black friday/cyber monday weekend started,” says Kristin Khan, Assistant Manager at Walgreens in East New York, Brooklyn.
Online retailers have been sending customers email discounts for weeks. According to Adobe Digital Index, online sales jumped 14.3 percent on Friday compared with last year, which tracked activity on 4,500 retail websites. Email promotions drove 25 percent more sales compared with 2014.
“I’ve grown up and don’t see the need or the impulse to buy everything now, now,the same deals are online and will be there” said Tonya Leopold, 32, waitress in Laurelton, Queens.
The National Retail federation reports 29.6 million (24.4%) consumers said they will use their mobile device to shop on Cyber Monday. Mobile retailing continues to grow as more and more consumers rely on their smartphones and tablets to research products and find gift ideas.
Also, the big box retailers have to contend with the saturday of the weekend being known as small business saturday. This day was founded six years ago in response to pressing needs of small business owners. Last year according to Forbes, 88 million consumers shopped small on Small Business Saturday, up 14.9 percent from 2013, spending $14.3 billion at local and independent businesses. This year the hype and buzz surrounding the day looked to have only increased.
Black friday is defined as the day after Thanksgiving that allows retailers to get out of the red. It’s the time retailers can move from underperforming to getting to a point where they can make a profit. Similarly Cyber Monday emerged as the web grew so it gives shoppers and retailers another day to push sales through the online aspect.
“It doesn’t really matter that the foot traffic was down on the Black Friday weekend but the sales are there the numbers don’t lie about gains made,” says Tandie Henry, sales associate at Best Buy.
The four days from Thursday Thanksgiving day to Cyber monday are not considered a strong indicator for the entire season. A slow start last year led to deeper promotions and a shopping rush in the final ten days of December.
“In the end profits will still go up and will continue to go up as Christmas nears because the deals will get better,”says Andrae Goins, 27, Hollis, Queens.