Photo: Chris Hondros / Getty
Black Friday is known for amazing deals and frequently, for the crazy things people do for those deals.A record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites this Black Friday, with the average shopper spending $389.62 this weekend, up from 212 million shoppers last year spending an average $365.34 last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Citi analysts Kate McShane and Ivan Holman decided to brave the shopping frenzy this year, and here’s what they came away with:
- The biggest change this Black Friday was earlier store openings. Some retailers opened doors 9 PM on Thursday evening and others like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, Kohl’s, Target opened doors at midnight.
- To boost online shopping, retailers (on average) reduced the minimum free shipping threshold to $50, from $75 the previous year.
- Black Friday was also warmer and drier this year, compared to last year which increased traffic to stores. Warmer weather could benefit sales of non-seasonal goods like electronics and jewelry but could hinder sales of cold-weather gear.
- Macy’s, Wal-Mart and Kohl’s Corporation were the clear winners according to Citi analyst Deborah L. Weinswig, because they were well prepared, opened early. Wal-Mart provided personalised store maps on its website and placed door busters (deals that attract customers to stores) throughout the store to limit crowding.
- Bed, Bath & Beyond did not have a midnight opening and was pretty empty, as consumers preferred more promotional retailers. The busiest areas of the store were core home furnishing including lighting and bedding.
- There were 400 – 500 people at the 62nd street and Broadway Best Buy store between midnight and 1 am. The store displays were geared towards promoting FPTV’s, laptops, video games and DVDs. FPTVs were undoubtedly the most popular purchases among consumers.
- Early store-openings attracted a new demographic, young males and couples between the ages of 18 – 24. Young males made up bulk of the midnight shoppers at Best Buy. Six hours after the stores opened there were no people waiting outside and about 55 – 60 shoppers inside the store. The morning saw a higher incidence of families, often with children.
- The best deals at Staples in New York included laptops. A 14′ HP laptop for 4gb ram and a 640gb hard drive for $399, $200 off. The Staples store in Garden city saw most consumer traffic in laptops and computers, none with kindle or kindle fire.
- Radioshack posted flyers in English and Spanish to promote its deals. Mobiles, laptops and music purchases were the most popular purchases.