Black Friday Education

Today in a guest post from the wonderful Joseph Baker, we look at the marketing implications of the holiday season. (Joe works at Professional Intern, great site for all things 'studenty' – a site I enjoy whilst doing my PhD)

My family lives in Illinois and when I go back for the holidays, I invariably find myself mired in the din and extravagance of Chicago. Though I make the trip every year, I always find myself ensnared by one of the many Chicago attractions. This was, however, the first year I decided get in on the Black Friday hype.

Considering my degrees in economics and finance, it may be surprising that this was my first foray into the consumer bacchanalia. I have studied Black Friday and its evolution as a social phenomenon and economic indicator for years, but when faced with rabid, foaming customers armed with pepper spray and reckless abandon, I turned tail and went back to my mother’s house.

Thank goodness for Cyber Monday.

Perhaps I’m not man enough to handle the rugged landscape of Black Friday. Perhaps I’d rather be around to watch my children grow up and not trampled into the dull linoleum of a Wal-Mart floor.

Whatever the case, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge phenomena that have massive, far-reaching effects for the nation and its fiscal situation.

Now I work in tech and the things we can see and pull from extreme commerce into Internet marketing are astounding.

Black Friday has grown in popularity, but Cyber Monday is fast becoming the more interesting end of the Thanksgiving sales weekend.

comScore recently reported the latest numbers:

For the holiday season-to-date, $12.7 billion has been spent online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. Black Friday (November 25) saw $816 million in online sales, making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2011 and representing a 26-percent increase versus Black Friday 2010. Thanksgiving Day (November 24), while traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 18-percent increase to $479 million.

Brick-and-mortar retailers certainly did well for themselves, but the move towards online is becoming increasingly evident with each passing year. More people are buying in more ways. Internet retailers, marketers and mobile providers must be flexible to deal with the incredible surge in traffic alone, never mind secure transactions. Cyber Monday 2009 saw retailers clock in 4 million sales per minute. That number has not only grown, but has become spread out over a diffuse stable of distribution methods: smartphones, mobile apps, tablets and traditional desktop/laptop transactions.

We’re slowly but surely moving towards a digital society. Cyber Monday is a growing barometer of America’s economic health and offers valuable insight as to how consumers are spending in variegated economic climates.

The entire technology landscape is about to change and when the wave crests, we’ll be the first to surf through it.



  1.' says

    That is true. We are getting more dependent on the internet by the day. It could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you want to look at it but it’s advancement nonetheless. I’m seeing bigger numbers next year.

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