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Black Friday

Retailers expect strong Cyber Monday sales to finish Black Friday shopping weekend

Prices are up for retailers and discounts are lower for consumers

Retailers are counting on a strong Cyber Monday to wrap up their Thanksgiving shopping season. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) stated that close to 2 million additional consumers will have shopped over the holiday weekend when compared to last year.

That amounts to an estimated 158.3 million people, up from 156.6 million last year. However, it’s still about 7 million short of the 165.3 million shoppers in pre-pandemic 2019.

“We’re expecting another record-breaking ho...

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    Black Friday online spending sets new U.S. record

    A report shows that smartphones were a popular purchase

    With many consumers still apprehensive about shopping in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spending for online shopping during Black Friday hit a new record. 

    An estimated $9 billion was spent online the day after Thanksgiving, according to a report from Adobe Analytics. That figure represents a 22 percent increase from the previous online spending record of $7.4 billion, set in 2019. 

    Adobe researchers said Friday’s online sales total takes the title of second-largest spending day in U.S. history, behind Cyber Monday last year. Consumers spent $6.3 million per minute (or $27.50 per person) online on Black Friday 2020.

    Digital devices were hot items

    There was a 25 percent increase in spending on smartphones compared to last year, according to the report. Forty percent of all online sales, or $3.6 billion, was spent on these devices. 

    “New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store,” said Taylor Schreiner, a director at Adobe Digital Insights.

    Sales of personal care products surged 556 percent, and online spending on pet products rose 254 percent. Popular items included Hot Wheels, Lego sets, Apple AirPods, Apple Watches, Amazon Echo devices, and Samsung TVs.

    More consumers also utilized retailers’ in-store and curbside pickup options. The report found that the use of these options increased 52 percent from last year.

    This year’s Cyber Monday shopping event is expected to become the biggest day in online sales in U.S. history. Adobe expects online sales to total between $10.8 billion to $12.7 billion.

    With many consumers still apprehensive about shopping in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spending for online shopping during Black Friday hit a new re...
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    Walmart, Target, and Amazon roll out deals to kick off Black Friday

    Some deals are available now, others start tonight

    Black Friday might lack some of the excitement and dramatic savings of past years, but Walmart, Target, and Amazon -- the three heavyweights in the retail space -- will still make it worth consumers’ while to shop.

    At Walmart, the Black Friday online deals start tonight at 7 p.m. ET and continue at midnight ET on Friday, with stores opening up at 5 a.m. local time. Walmart’s ad circular highlights the following deals:

    • Fitbit Inspire 2 --  $69.

    • 70-inch Vizio 4K TV --  $478.

    • Nintendo Switch Bundle --  $299.

    • AirPods Pro --  $169.

    • Apple Watch Series 3 --  $119

    Thanksgiving will be a big online shopping day

    Target’s latest Black Friday ad offers discounts on smart products for the home, toys, electronics, games, toys, and apparel. Some of the deals went live at Target.com on Sunday, but the bulk will be available on Thanksgiving day.

    Target stores are closed on Thanksgiving but will open as usual on Black Friday. Here are some of the deals listed in Target’s circular:

    • $70 off Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch

    • $70 off Fire HD 10 Tablet 

    • 50 percent off most board and card games

    • $400 Target gift card with purchase of Samsung Note20 5G, Galaxy s20+5G, or Note10+

    New deals each day

    Amazon, which offered a sneak peek at its Cyber Monday deals earlier this week, has been putting up new deals each day since Friday and will continue the offerings through Black Friday itself. 

    Its deals cover a wide range of categories, from health and beauty products to smart devices for the home. Deals include:

    • $149.99 for the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and an Echo Show 5

    • $129.99 for the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition tablet, a $70 savings

    • Up to 30 percent off on select Adidas activewear, backpacks, and more

    • Up to 40 percent off on Gillette and Venus razors, refills and more

    • Up to 30 percent off on STEM toys from Learning Resources

    Despite the expected high volume of shipping resulting from this year’s massive shift to online shopping, Amazon says Prime members in the U.S. can shop a selection of over 10 million items eligible for Prime Free One-Day Delivery with no minimum purchase, and millions of items available for Same-Day Delivery in 47 major metropolitan areas. 

    Black Friday might lack some of the excitement and dramatic savings of past years, but Walmart, Target, and Amazon -- the three heavyweights in the retail...
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    Here’s what people are shopping for on ‘Black Friday week’

    Consumers’ wishlists appear to be top-heavy with electronics

    This year, thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Black Friday has been extended from just one day to most of the month of November. Deals are increasing this week as the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season approaches.

    According to BestBlackFriday.com, most retailers are staging week-long sales promotions that lack the “OMG doorbuster” deals from previous years. But the savings are there, especially when it comes to technology and gadgets.

    The iPhone 12 is reportedly high on many people’s gift lists this year. Other tech items consumers say they want to find under the tree are video game consoles, which got a workout as people spent a lot more time at home during the pandemic.

    BestBlackFriday’s survey of consumers about what tech gifts they valued most found that 17 percent asked for a Playstation 5. Another 9 percent wanted an Xbox Series X/S.

    Fourteen percent requested smart devices for the home, and 7 percent hoped for a foldable phone in their stockings.

    Just three retailers

    The survey also shows that 64 percent of consumers planned to do the bulk of their shopping at three retailers -- Amazon, Walmart, and Target.

    "We're seeing that U.S. consumers are prioritizing electronics purchases and flocking to online marketplaces as many face new `stay at home' orders," said David Sykes, Head of U.S. at Klarna, a payments and shopping service. "Recent Wish List data from the Klarna app echoes these trends, showing that shoppers across all age demographics are particularly interested in personal electronics, footwear and home items as we enter the holiday season."

    Klarna’s survey of consumers also reveals a gift list top-heavy with technology products. The top 10 requested gifts are:

    1. Apple AirPod Pro

    2. Nike Air Force 1

    3. Nintendo Switch

    4. Gramercy Kitchen Glass Food Storage Containers

    5. Vans Canvas Old Skool

    6. MacBook Pro

    7. Apple iPhone 12

    8. Apple Watch Series 5

    9. Adidas Superstar Athletic Shoe

    10. Food Network Acacia Wood Salad Bowl Set

    Electronics sale growing faster than other categories

    Consumers have already made a lot of electronics purchases. Klarna's app data showed that the share of wallet in the electronics category grew by 15 percent in the week ending November 15 when compared to the previous week - the most of any category during the comparison period. 

    The company said this was especially pronounced among Gen Zers and baby boomers, who increased their share of wallet in the category by 19 percent and 21 percent week-over-week, respectively.

    This year, thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Black Friday has been extended from just one day to most of the month of November. Deals are incr...
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    Amazon reminds holiday shoppers that they can also pick up packages at delivery hubs

    The company says the alternatives are easy and can even be used for returns

    It’s all well and good for Amazon to trumpet its Cyber Monday deals and its improved fulfillment processes, but in a follow-up to the rollout of its Cyber Monday price busters, the company is also pushing its customers to consider using alternative pickup locations and consolidate deliveries.

    Amazon is urging holiday shoppers to use brick-and-mortar retail locations and neighborhood “hubs” to pick up their packages as it reinforces itself for a spike in online orders. Hub locations include self-service kiosks like Amazon lockers, and most of the people-hosted pickup counters are located inside or near local retail stores. Added up, Amazon says those hubs and lockers can be found in more than 900 cities and towns across the U.S. 

    “This year many customers and their families are opting to stay home so the challenge of keeping those special gifts under wraps from family, friends or loved ones is going to be greater than ever,” John Felton, vice president of Amazon’s global delivery services, said in a statement.

    “We’re helping customers keep their orders a surprise this year and have a number of ways we’re providing them more flexibility, control and convenience over their deliveries—whether that’s ordering to an alternative pickup location, tracking their package en route to their home, or consolidating their deliveries to a single day so they can plan ahead.”

    How to use Amazon’s delivery alternatives

    Amazon’s reason for suggesting alternative delivery or pickup is pretty straightforward. For one thing, it saves the company lots of money since it can lessen the number of last-mile delivery trips to get a package to a specific address. The “last mile” part in the delivery chain is a huge link because it’s rather labor-intensive and expensive.

    Some of Amazon’s own FAQs about alternative delivery to hubs and kiosks include:

    How do you use it? “To use an Amazon Hub location simply find a convenient location and add it to your Amazon address book or search for it when prompted at checkout. Then, select it as your delivery address,” the company says.

    Then, once a parcel has been delivered, Amazon will email the customer a collection barcode. All that's left at that point is to visit the selected Locker or Counter to collect the parcel. Once a customer gets to a Locker, they will scan the barcode to access their delivery. If they’re using a counter location, the store assistant will scan the barcode before handing over the parcel.

    What is the difference between Locker and Counter? Lockers are simply self-service kiosks where customers can collect or return their Amazon parcels at a time that's convenient for them, 24/7. Counters can be found at retail locations such as convenience stores; parcels at these locations will be handed over by a staff member in store.

    How much does using Amazon Hub cost? There is no transaction fee associated with shipping to an Amazon Hub, but there is one caveat: Amazon Hub locations aren't eligible for Release-Date Delivery.

    How long do I have to pick up my parcel? There’s some flexibility in pickup times, but it doesn’t last forever and it varies between Lockers and Counters. Customers have 3 calendar days to pick up their parcel from a Locker and 14 calendar days to pick up their parcel from a Counter. If you're not able to collect your parcel within this time frame, it will automatically be returned for a refund.

    How do I sign up for the service? Amazon customers who opt in for the alternative delivery options have to do one very important thing at checkout online: search and select the most convenient location for them when prompted. 

    Can you return an item to an Amazon Hub location? Absolutely. 

    Will Alexa blow my cover? Good question. Amazon says that its Alexa device will keep mum on who an item is for, even if a customer asks, “Where’s my stuff?” or checks their delivery update notifications. If a customer likes, they can also mark an item as a gift during checkout and Alexa will not reveal the names of those items either. 

    “Customers who want to be extra cautious of keeping those gifts under wraps or are worried they might forget to mark an item as a gift during checkout can also change their settings for item names in the Alexa app to hide all titles,” the company suggested.

    And what is “Amazon Day”?

    Another fair request that Amazon is asking its customers to consider is receiving all of their deliveries as a single delivery on a specific day that it’s dubbed “Amazon Day.” The company says Amazon Day is free to Prime members in the U.S. If they so choose, Prime members can opt to receive all of their orders on one day of the week, often in fewer boxes, to reduce the number of packages and deliveries.

    Eligible items can typically be ordered for Amazon Day delivery up to two days before a customer’s chosen day. Interested consumers can learn more here.


    Editor's Note: The headline of the story has been modified to clarify that Amazon's alternative package delivery options are not being offered due to any existing "delivery crunch."

    It’s all well and good for Amazon to trumpet its Cyber Monday deals and its improved fulfillment processes, but in a follow-up to the rollout of its Cyber...
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    Most consumers are ‘anxious’ about shopping in stores this holiday season, poll finds

    Analysts say shoppers will favor online shopping this Black Friday

    With the number of COVID-19 infections continuing to climb, a Deloitte poll has found that more than half of consumers (57 percent) are anxious about shopping in stores over the holidays. 

    Deloitte conducted the survey between October and early November and found that the percentage of consumers who are anxious about shopping in stores has only increased since September. Deloitte officials said the figure is likely even higher now.

    “My guess is that percentage is probably even higher now,” said Rod Sides, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. leader for retail, wholesale and distribution. The pandemic is “driving folks online and changing behavior,” he said.

    Deloitte said consumer anxiety stemming from the health crisis is likely to fuel an increase in online spending this holiday shopping season. Sixty-one percent of consumers are planning to shop online this Black Friday, according to the poll. 

    Shaping shopping behaviors

    Although the days following Thanksgiving are typically big days for group shopping trips, Deloitte found that this year is likely to be different. Around 60 percent of consumers said they’re either “unsure” or “have no plans” to shop with family and friends this week. 

    “We’re not going to have a meaningful vaccine rollout, even with the great news this week, in time to have people feel comfortable from a holiday perspective,” Sides said. “So I think this one is going to turn out to be predominantly online.”

    Nearly two-thirds of consumers (74 percent) said they plan to shop online during the week of Thanksgiving in order to avoid crowds, according to the survey. That’s up from 62 percent a year ago. 

    The poll results come as health officials urge Americans to avoid traveling and mingling with people outside of their household this Thanksgiving holiday period. The U.S. has reported a million new cases of COVID-19 per week for the past few weeks.   

    Aware of the health risks of shopping in stores, a number of retailers have already started rolling out Black Friday-like deals. Walmart has planned three Black Friday-esque shopping events, and Target’s Black Friday sales have been going on for weeks now. Other retailers that have launched early deals in stores and on their websites include Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Best Buy.  

    With the number of COVID-19 infections continuing to climb, a Deloitte poll has found that more than half of consumers (57 percent) are anxious about shopp...
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    Black Friday car shoppers will need to do some extra homework

    Deals will be harder to come by this year

    A new car is one of the big-ticket gifts people sometimes give themselves or a family member, but shoppers looking for a Black Friday bargain may have to look a little harder this year.

    Industry analysts say dealers have less wiggle room and are likely to stay closer to the sticker price. Because of the pandemic, new car inventories are running low.

    The pandemic forced the closure of U.S. assembly plants for about six weeks in the spring. As the factories reopened and the industry tried to catch up, demand for new and used cars accelerated. People who normally relied on public transit and ride-sharing suddenly found they needed a car.

    Edmunds, an automotive data company, reports the average discount from MSRP for new vehicles dropped to $2,046 in October, nearly 23 percent less than last year. Because of a shortage of 2020 models, Edmunds predicts that more than half the cars sold this month will be 2021 models, which will carry fewer incentives and discounts.

    ‘Mostly just hype’

    "This Black Friday is looking much different in terms of sales compared to the blowout bargain events promoted in years past," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "Although automakers are doing a good job of broadcasting a 'buy now' message to shoppers with holiday advertising campaigns, they're mostly just hype.”

    The reality, says Caldwell, is that there is less of a transition phase between model years as 2020 draws to a close. For that reason, the dealers feel like they’re firmly in the driver’s seat.

    “Dealers and automakers aren't facing the overwhelming pressure to sweeten deals to clear out their lots," she said.

    Shoppers aren’t going to find things are much more accommodating on the used car lot. Cox Automotive recently reported used car prices gained momentum throughout the summer as demand increased and inventories shrank. 

    Higher prices for used cars too

    “Higher wholesale prices were supported by strong retail demand and below-normal levels of supply that eased in September as seasonal demand normalized and supply increased modestly,” Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathon Smoke said last month.

    Supplies of used cars rose slightly at the beginning of November but remain about 3 million units lower than at the beginning of 2019.

    New car shoppers with a fairly recent model to trade in may find they have slightly more bargaining power since dealers are actively seeking to replenish their used car stocks. Research the trade-in value of your vehicle using Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book and negotiate that price just as firmly as the new vehicle price.

    National used car dealers Carmax and Carvana purchase vehicles directly from consumers. NPR recently reported that a Maryland consumer sold his 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, which he purchased in 2016, for $1,800 more than he paid for it.

    A new car is one of the big-ticket gifts people sometimes give themselves or a family member, but shoppers looking for a Black Friday bargain may have to l...
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    Walmart plans three Black Fridays to help cope with COVID-19

    Most of the deals will be offered online

    How exactly do retailers plan to maintain social distancing on Black Friday when stores are traditionally crammed with shoppers? Walmart’s answer is to have three Black Fridays.

    The retailer has announced that “Black Friday Deals for Days” will be made up of three sales events, with the first beginning online on Nov. 4. That sales event will feature deals on toys, electronic, and home products, and it will move to Walmart stores on Nov. 7.

    Walmart will launch its second event on Nov. 11, again starting online. The sale will feature TV sets, computers, tablets, and entertainment media. The event will move to stores on Nov. 14. The final event will begin online on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25. In-store sales will follow on Nov. 26, the traditional Black Friday.

    And new this year, customers will have the option to pick up their online Black Friday order through the retailer’s contact-free curbside pickup service.

    “Although this year’s event looks different, our commitment to what our customers depend on us for – the absolute best prices of the season on hot gifts from top brands – hasn’t changed,” said Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S.

    Unique sales and deals

    Walmart says shoppers will find deals on brands like HP, Instant Pot, LEGO, L.O.L. Surprise!, Roku and Shark, including some it says will be exclusive to Walmart. The retailer also promises to have plenty of the sale items in stock.

    During the first event, Walmart says it’s deals will include a  42-inch UHD Roku TV for $88 and popular Hotel Style bath towels for $5.

    The second event will feature marked down prices of Apple and Samsung mobile phones, and the final event will include sales on all categories of gifts, including toys and apparel. 

    Getting a head start

    Walmart is not only dividing up its holiday sales promotions, it’s also getting a head start on Black Friday -- a trend other retailers have adopted. A survey conducted in September for RetailMeNot found that many consumers plan to shop early this year because of the pandemic.

    Most of the people in the survey said they will probably do most of their shopping online this year, continuing a trend that began with the initial coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. The most common reason given for shopping early was to avoid delivery delays and retailers being out of stock.

    In fact, an overwhelming number of respondents -- 88 percent -- said they may complete all of their purchases online and will not shop for traditional door-buster deals on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

    How exactly do retailers plan to maintain social distancing on Black Friday when stores are traditionally crammed with shoppers? Walmart’s answer is to hav...
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