What did Black Friday teach us this year ?

Punch line: A record number of shoppers spent Black Friday weekend shopping for deals, revealing new consumer trends present this holiday shopping season.

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Excerpted from Adage.com’s, “Four Things Holiday-Shopping Kickoff Tell Us About the Economy, Consumer Habits”

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A record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 226 million last year. The average shopper spent $423 this weekend, up from $398 last year, helping total spending reach an estimated $59.1 billion.

Here arefour things we’ve learned from the holiday-shopping kickoff:

  1. Retailers are nervous about the economy
    U.S. retailers are extending deals to try to sustain a 13% gain in Thanksgiving weekend sales, even at the potential expense of December sales. The jump in total spending suggests that some sales were pulled ahead from December and that retailers will have to keep up the promotions to avoid a lull.
  2. Consumers could care less about the “fiscal cliff”
    Retailers had increasingly confident consumers visiting stores this weekend. More Americans this month said the U.S. economy will improve than at any time in the past decade, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.
  3. Online shopping has lost any perceived stigma
    E-commerce once had its very own holiday — Cyber Monday — when retailers promoted online shopping and consumers returning to work after Thanksgiving again had access to a high-speed internet connection. Now, shopping online has become de rigueur and consumers can easily shop at home or from their own devices.
  4. Holidays are no longer sacred
    Thanksgiving Day, once reserved for family gatherings, saw the number of shoppers rise to more than 35 million from 29 million last year.  About 28% of the weekend shoppers were in stores on Thursday night, up from about 24% last year.

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