Published On: Fri, Nov 24th, 2017

Black Friday shopping now competing with early, online deals

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Black Friday used to reliably draw throngs of shoppers to stores in search of “doorbuster” deals. But as retailers have spread “Black Friday” deals throughout Thanksgiving week, or even earlier in November, shoppers are spreading out their spending or skipping the lines entirely and nabbing those discounts online.

Those trends were evident early Friday morning outside the Best Buy store at Harlem Irving Plaza in Norridge. Several dozen shoppers were lined up outside, but when the store’s doors opened at 8 a.m., there was none of the mayhem previously associated with Black Friday. Customers filed in one or two at a time, most in silence after a few halfhearted “yeahs” and claps as the line began to move.

Larry Adcox, first in line, arrived four hours early after trying and failing to score a deal on a television for his daughter at the same Best Buy the night before. “Today’s not bad at all,” said Adcox, 55, a vending machine installer who lives on Chicago’s North Side.

Troy Radunsky, 45, of Chicago’s Oriole Park neighborhood, was also in search of a TV at Best Buy. Radunsky, an attorney, said he’s usually more of a last-minute shopper. But he decided to look for a gift for his wife after hearing about her post-Thanksgiving dinner shopping run the night before. It took less than 25 minutes, and she saved $150, he said. “I hate crowds, but this isn’t so bad,” he said.

By 10 a.m., the mall’s usual opening time, the halls were livelier.

Almost 116 million consumers planned to shop or were considering shopping on Black Friday this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Two-thirds of people surveyed said the deals were “too good to pass up,” while 26 percent cited tradition.

However, a separate survey by consultant PwC, also known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that only 35 percent of consumers expected to do most of their Black Friday week shopping on Black Friday itself, down from 59 percent in 2015.

Much of that shopping was expected to happen online. Amazon is expected to take half of the holiday season’s sales growth, say analysts at Bain.

By Friday by 9 a.m., consumers had spent $640 million shopping online, representing 18.4 percent growth over last year’s Black Friday, according to Adobe. On Thanksgiving, consumers shelled out $2.87 billion buying products online. Adobe’s survey measured 80 percent of online transactions at the nation’s 100 largest web retailers.

Porschey Hines, 31, wondered if online shopping was the reason for open parking spots and quick checkout lines at the Elk Grove Village Walmart just after 7 a.m. Friday. “This is good for me,” Hines said. “This is how I like to shop.”

Target, acknowledging the shift to shopping online, decided to close between midnight and 6 a.m. on Black Friday, after remaining open around-the-clock last year.

At Toys R Us, Black Friday has morphed into a two-week period when customers are increasingly hungry for deals, especially online, said Chief Merchandising Officer Richard Barry. “It’s what customers expect, and our job is to satisfy the needs of our customers,” he said. “We’re firmly in the camp of Cyber Week at this point.”

Kmart started promoting holiday sales even earlier, on Nov. 1. Shoppers said it was hard to cross off every item on their lists when deals were crowded around the Thanksgiving holidays, said Kelly Cook, chief marketing officer for Sears and Kmart .

 

Click here for full article on The Chicago Tribune

Source: Chicago Tribune

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