Surveys say: Black Friday divided between brick and click


The holiday shopping season begins in earnest on the Friday following Thanksgiving (11/26/10 this year) and a lot of Americans plan to go out to various brick and mortar retail destinations. But many more will go no further than their mouse and the computer it’s hooked up to.

A report from Consumer Reports says that 102M people will be hitting the stores this year on Black Friday and the weekend days immediately following. And while that is a good number, it marks a 16M decrease from 2009 levels.

That may not mean a loss of overall business, however, as shoppers continue to rely more and more in the internet to get their shopping done.

Black Friday is traditionally known for its sales, but CR says not to worry if you don’t get out during the weekend – many sales will extend throughout the shopping season.

“Shopping over Thanksgiving weekend is a sport for many people, and despite the downturn, you can count on long lines, crowds, and traffic,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. “But retailers are desperate for sales and consumers are likely to see deep discounts not only on Black Friday but throughout the holiday season. So there’s no sense of urgency.”

The Monday following Thanksgiving has come to be known as Cyber Monday, and CR says online shopping is expected to pick up greatly on that day.

Another survey, from, found that consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with crowds, long cash register lines and endless concrete surfing in search of a parking space, and that is driving shoppers online at an increasing rate. Other frustrations include the need to start early to successfully acquire certain hot items, and the tendency of stores to run out of items.

Besides the convenience, other reasons to go on line include easier comparison shopping, better discounts and beter availability.

RBR-TVBR observation: Broadcast advertising is a great way to drive traffic to either real estate or virtual shopping venues – retailers who wish to be meaningful participants in this year’s holiday bonanza, such as it will be, need to make their presence known regardless if they are brick and mortar, virtual or both.

This has nothing to do with broadcasting or advertising, but we nevertheless offer a word to the wise about online availability: As we have discovered on several occasions, sometimes an item is “temporarily” out of stock, and the online venue promises to alert us when it is back in stock. For one item last year, that alert didn’t come until sometime in February. In our case, it transformed from a holiday to a birthday present; but the downside is it stops the search for availability at some other venue. So beware of such promises.