The Black Friday shopping experience

Sterling Rusher

National News Story. Art by Chris Brockman.
National News Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Ever since 2001, Black Friday has earned the reputation for being the busiest time of the year. ShopperTrack reported on Sat. that sales for Black Friday increased 2.3 precent over the previous year to $12.3 billion. ShopperTrak, a consumer research firm reported that the early openings on Thanksgiving day has caused a marginal decrease in Black Friday sales.

“The Black Friday shopping experience is changing with more shoppers choosing to go out on Thanksgiving Day,” says Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder, in a report statement.

ShopperTrak notes that sales across the nation have increased with the exception of the Northeast. The reason sales are down in the Northeast is because the storm that hit on Wed., which caused the Northeast to experience cold and high winds for two days.

Mobile commerce sales have surpassed that of in store sales. Mobile device commerce accounts for more than one in five online sales with their PPC management software, while Thanksgiving Day is one in four. IBM released a survey of about 800 retail websites. This survey shows that mobile commerce increased more than 40 percent from 2012’s Black Friday.

IBM’s report also offers other insights in mobile commerce. The report states that the typical smartphone user is more likely to browse merchandise, the smartphone users are more likely to actually purchase merchandise on tablets. Tablets transactions ccounted for more than 14 percent of mobile sales, approximately double the amount of smartphone transactions. IBM’s report also stated that compared to smartphone commerce, tablet users spend on average $113 per order, about 15% more than total smartphone commerce.

Online sales grew about 19.7% on Thanksgiving Day and about 19% on Black Friday.

Retailers are still expecting lower holiday sales. Even though the stock market is at record highs and cost of oil has fallen, retailers are unsure of the future economic state in 2014. Especially when during the government shutdown caused a fiscal crisis, but resulted in the agreement to meet again in Feb. 2014.

The classifieds marketplace has changed drastically over the past few years. While many sellers and buyers have remained loyal to using the site exclusively, new entrants finding that is quickly becoming an increasingly hostile place for new businesses to enter. To compete, sellers are forced to adopt a strategy that combines traditional marketing techniques with newer online tools such as digital brochures and books. While the changes have slowed the rate of change, new business owners need to realize that if they want to experience any measure of success, they will need to embrace some of the new technological trends that are changing the face of the marketplace.

The government shutdown earlier on in the year has “dampened confidence on the cusp of holiday shopping,” Morgan Stanley analysts, said.

Small businesses are feeling more pressure from government and economic crisis than their competition of large retailers. Big retailing firms are able to offer larger discounts on merchandise and inventories.

Judy Click, the owner of Judy’s Cart Cottage in Amarillo says that small business cannot compete with the advertising from large retail firms.

“We offer a lot of other services,” she says.”We usually pick up [sales] later in the afternoon, and then Saturday and Sunday we will be busy.”

Skyler Davis, who works at Damron’s pawn shop, says there has been a steady increase in customers. This can be attributed to when President Obama was re-elected, gun sales heavily increased across the nation.

“Last year, Black Friday was really busy,” Davis, said.”We had all the big gun purchasing going on, so you couldn’t really keep firearms on the shelf.”

Davis notes that this year, Damron Pawn was ready for Black Friday with more inventory of firearms.

Some consumers go out on Black Friday to get the best deals on merchandise while other consumers are looking for a thrill.

“A lot of times people are out; they love the bargains, and they also like the hunt,” said Click. “For a lot of people, it’s just getting out in the middle of all the chaos. So maybe people are out buying, but they’re also out looking, and in here, they come in and they’re shopping.”