Monday, November 26, 2012

Record-breaking Black Friday

Although the "biggest holiday shopping weekend" still has one day left, retailers are already dubbing it their most successful one yet. Some shoppers rushed to stores as early as Thanksgiving night to make their holiday purchases, while many others shopped from home. No matter where you stand regarding Black Friday, it is undeniable that this weekend extravaganza of shopping was one for the books.

A survey released by the National Retail Federation calculated that a record breaking 247 million shoppers shopped online and in stores over the Black Friday weekend, as opposed to 226 million in 2011. The average customer individually spent $423 and total sales were estimated at $59.1 billion. The National Federation concluded that the reason this Black Friday was more successful than past ones was due to the fact that it was much more convenient for customers to shop. This year, many stores opened on Thursday night instead of Friday morning, made their shipping and layaway options much more convenient, and updated their mobile Black Friday applications for smartphones and tablets. 

According to Reuters, this was the first year that online sales topped $1 billion. Additionally, online sales increased 26% from last year on Black Friday and it was estimated that $1.04 billion was spent. The most popular website shoppers visited was

Most interesting to me, however, were the apps specifically tailored to Black Friday shoppers. These apps were created to aid customers in the mapping out their plans of action and allowing them to decipher which stores were worth taking a trip to. 

Two of the most helpful apps I was able to find were the Black Friday Survival Guide and Shop Savvy. The Black Friday Survival Guide exhibits the latest deals from major retailers, which are updated up to the minute. To me, its simplicity is what makes it the most enjoyable. Time is no longer wasted flipping through circulars and deals you wish to go back to can easily be added to a "favorites" list. 

Consequently, Shop Savvy comes in handy when you are actually in the middle of a store's madness. It has a special feature that allows you to use your iPhone camera to scan a product's barcode. You are then able to view the item and compare prices at other locations. Once an item is scanned, websites are given that you can purchase the item on and the GPS locator in your phone allows it to suggest nearby stores to buy the item at a lesser price. Shop Savvy enables the posting of your information to social media outlets or into a "favorites" folder for you to go back to.

Black Friday Survival Guide via CNET

Shop Savvy via CNET

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