Black Friday in 2006 marked the biggest sign of growth in history. Merchants’ retail websites saw a 21% increase in traffic on Black Friday as compared to the previous days for the month of November. Overall, e-commerce spending was up 42% in 2006 from prior Black Fridays. The sales are getting bigger, the competition is stiffer and the average American is getting on board by opening up their wallets the day after Thanksgiving. Electronics and apparel are the biggest benefactors from Black Friday, up 211% and 117% in traffic from their pre-Black Friday numbers respectively.
The websites that see the biggest audience up-tick on Black Friday are Best Buy (up 316%), Circuit City (up 211%) and Wal-mart (up 191%). Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, says the online traffic is in preparation before heading out to the stores themselves. “We see many shoppers checking out Web sites for Black Friday sales and promotions before heading to the stores,” she says.
When beginning your online research for Black Friday, your first website should be http://bfads.net. Its sole purpose is to chronicle Black Friday at all the major (and some minor) stores. If you visit weeks prior Black Friday, some of the information will be rough and bound to change. As the unofficial holiday grows closer (especially the week of) the sale information is be far-more reliable. Blackfridayads.com offers many online specials from the major retailers. The 2007 version will not launch until mid-November, but the make-up has been in the same in year’s past. In 2006, Apple, Amazon, EB Games, Costco, KB Toys, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Macy’s were a few of the listed stores. A well-chronicled item on the website in 2006 was a PSP system for $169 and free shipping. Amazon offered a hefty 10% discount on 30GB IPods ($228) and 80 GB IPods ($318) with free shipping as well.
Most items on sale for Black Friday are available through the stores’ websites. Amazon had a significant online sale in 2006 of 1,000 Xbox 360s for $100. Obviously the demand for a sale of that magnitude is great and will sell out quickly. Just like great seats through Ticketmaster, you need to be ready on the website before the pre-determined sale time. The online sales could start at 5am, like many retail outlets on Friday, but some start as late as that afternoon. If something peaks your interest, be prepared to use your high-speed internet, refresh often and don’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
Always have a plan B with Black Friday sales as the demand is as great as any other time during the holidays. Remember that the philosophy behind Black Friday is to lure everyone into the store (or website) with a few items on sale, then banking you will stay and buy other things when the sale item is not available. Stick to your guns. If your targeted item is gone, have a predetermined second option instead of automatically going on a spending spree at the same store.