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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 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...

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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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    Consumers break spending records on Black Friday

    Shoppers spent $7.4 billion to kick off the holiday shopping season

    Consumers spent a record-breaking $7.4 billion during this year’s Black Friday, according to data from Adobe Analytics

    Adobe, which looks at sales at 80 of the top 100 online retailers in the nation, found that purchases of computers, tablets, and smartphones accounted for many purchases. Top electronics included Air Fryers, Apple’s AirPods, and Samsung televisions. 

    Consumers spent an average of $168 per person -- an increase of 6 percent over last year. 

    This year’s Black Friday figures were up by $1.2 billion from 2018 and represented the biggest numbers for digital sales in history, coming second only to last year’s Cyber Monday total of $7.9 billion. However, this year’s Black Friday sales total was slightly lower than Adobe’s prediction of $7.5 billion. 

    Uptick in smartphone purchases 

    This year, a large share of online sales transactions took place on smartphones. Adobe found that $2.9 billion sales poured in from mobile devices on Friday -- the highest total ever. 

    Half of consumers will choose to shop on a smartphone this holiday season, even when they have a desktop or laptop at their disposal, Adobe said in its report.

    Consumers’ decreasing tolerance for standing in lines was further reflected in the 43 percent increase in buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) orders. Adobe said the increase in these sales suggested that many retailers are “successfully bridging online and offline retail operations.”

    Adobe expects Cyber Monday 2019 to shatter records, as well. The firm predicts spending will hit $9.4 billion -- an 18.9 percent increase from last year. 

    Consumers spent a record-breaking $7.4 billion during this year’s Black Friday, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Adobe, which looks at sales at...
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    Retailers are counting down to Black Friday

    The official holiday shopping season kicks off at the end of the week

    With Black Friday coming up at the end of the week, retailers are putting the final touches on their plans, competing for both online and brick-and-mortar sales.

    Target says it will offer early access to some of its best Black Friday deals on Wednesday -- if you happen to be a RedCard holder or belong to Target circle. The early access will begin at 6 p.m. CST.

    RedCard holders will get access to special deals on Target.com and in the Target app. RedCard holders will receive an additional 5 percent off all purchases.

    Walmart will also start offering some Black Friday deals on Wednesday, starting at 10 p.m. EST., on Walmart.com -- a prelude to the main event that will begin Thanksgiving evening. Some of the biggest deals will be on apparel, electronics, home furnishings, and toys. 

    Deals on toys include Disney Frozen 2 Fold & Go Arendelle Castle, Hover-1 All-Star Hoverboard, and LEGO Classic or Duplo Creative Box.

    Retro spin on toy shopping

    Putting a retro spin on toy shopping this holiday season, eBay is offering parents a way to stand out and maybe surprise their children. The online shopping site says it’s offering everything from collectible Star Wars action figures to new Kindi Kids dolls, from the My Size Barbie of yesterday to the Astronaut Barbie of today.

    Sam Bright, vice president and general manager of Merchandising at eBay, says if a toy was popular once upon a time, there’s a good chance it will be popular with today’s kids.

    "There's a revival of all things retro right now and we're seeing classic toys gaining popularity alongside the most coveted new offerings,” Bright said, “The thing is, it isn't always easy for shoppers to cross the vintage and hard-to-find gifts off their lists." 

    Toys for parents too

    Because collectors often use eBay to sell items Bright says it’s not uncommon to find toys that span the decades. And it’s not just children who might want some of these classic toys under the tree. Millennials often want to get their hands on remakes of the games they played with as kids, such as the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite.

    Meanwhile, Amazon is in the midst of a seven-day Black Friday Deals Week with new deals offered each day leading up to the big day itself. Recent deals have included Walker’s Razor Slim headphones for $27.29 to $39.79.

    With Black Friday coming up at the end of the week, retailers are putting the final touches on their plans, competing for both online and brick-and-mortar...
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    Amazon is providing an early look at its Black Friday deals

    Discounts cover a range of categories, from home furnishings to toys

    Amazon is doing a slow reveal of some of its Black Friday bargains after Walmart and Target have also begun to whet shoppers’ appetites.

    Like last year, the online retailer plans to stage a “Black Friday deals week,” with daily deals starting Friday, Nov. 22 and running through Black Friday itself, Nov. 29.

    Deals cover several different categories. Deals on Amazon devices include:

    • Echo Dot is $27.99 off – $22.00 or a 3-pack for $64.97;

    • All-new Echo Dot with clock is $25 off, taking the price to $34.99;

    • Echo Show 5 is $40 off, reducing the price to  $49.99;

    • All-new Echo is $40 off –  $59.99; and

    • Echo Input is $20 off – $14.99.

    Amazon is marking down several products among its own brands. Some of them are:

    • Up to 50 percent off on men's and women’s clothing from Amazon Brands, including Amazon Essentials, Goodthreads, Daily Ritual, and The Drop;

    • A 30 percent discount on bedding & bath for the family from AmazonBasics, Stone & Beam and Rivet;

    • Up to 30 percent off on furniture from Rivet and Stone & Beam;

    • Up to 30 percent off on office furniture and supplies from AmazonBasics; and

    • Up to 30 percent on phone accessories from AmazonBasics.

    A lot of toys made the list of daily deals. They include up to 40 percent off on:

    • The LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon;

    • Tricycles and the 3-in-1 Wagon from Radio Flyer;

    • The KidKraft Cinderella Royal Dream House; and

    • The Little Tikes Bake n’ Grow Kitchen.

    The retailer is marking down select strategy games, Glitter Girls fashion dollars and accessories, Barbie toys, and Hot Wheels by up to 30 percent.

    Free music expansion

    Amazon has also announced that its free music service, previously playable only on the Amazon Echo, will now be accessible on more devices. The ad-supported music streaming service can be played on iPhones, Android devices, and Fire TV.

    The free music service can be used to play radio stations or create playlists, much like Pandora’s free service. Amazon also provides a music streaming service that is part of its Prime membership.

    For other gift ideas and discounts, the shopping monitor website BestBlackFriday.com has published Black Friday ad scans for other major retailers.

    Amazon is doing a slow reveal of some of its Black Friday bargains after Walmart and Target have also begun to whet shoppers’ appetites.Like last year,...
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    Target reveals its Black Friday plans, along with a peek at the deals

    The retailer has a Black Friday preview sale planned for this weekend

    With Black Friday 22 days away, Target has begun to roll out what it calls its “HoliDeals,” with sale prices on merchandise like home furnishings, electronics, and toys.

    As part of the rollout, the retailer offered a preview of its Black Friday ad. In years past, stores went to great lengths to keep this ad under wraps. Target stores will also hold a two-day Black Friday preview sale this weekend with an increased number of bargains.

    Members of its Target Circle loyalty program will get first crack at the deals as the company is providing early access to consumers who have signed up for the new promotion. RedCard holders will also be included.

    “This is the busiest time of year for our guests, and with the shortened season, we want to make it as easy as possible for them to cross everything off their holiday list at Target,” said Rick Gomez, executive vice president, chief marketing and digital officer, Target. “And with our biggest investment ever in guest service, our teams will be ready to help guests shop and save with ease this holiday season.”

    Target is increasing its seasonal staff

    In September, Target announced it would hire more than 130,000 seasonal workers to help it meet the Christmas rush. The company said about 125,000 workers would fill in-store positions and about 8,000 would be placed in distribution and fulfillment center jobs. Target will pay workers a minimum starting wage of $13 per hour.

    The Black Friday Two-Day Preview Sale will run Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9. Target shoppers will have access to some of the Black Friday sale items during the event that will last all day both days.

    The sale items will include:

    • TCL 40” 1080p Smart LED Roku TV for  $169.99 

    • Nikon D3500 18-55mm Camera $399.99 

    • Discount on top-selling mobile devices

    • $200 Target GiftCard with the purchase of the newest generation iPhones

    • Jetson Strike Hoverboard $95 

    • Beats Solo3 headphones $129.99

    The day before Thanksgiving, Target says its RedCard holders and Target Circle members will get early access to some of the best Black Friday deals. RedCard holders will get an additional 5 percent off purchases that day.

    Black Friday itself will start Thanksgiving morning on Target.com. Target stores will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remain open until 1 a.m. Friday. Stores will reopen at 7 a.m. for the main event and the 2019 holiday shopping season will officially be underway.

    With Black Friday 22 days away, Target has begun to roll out what it calls its “HoliDeals,” with sale prices on merchandise like home furnishings, electron...
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    Consumers set Black Friday spending records

    Online sales were up nearly 24 percent over 2017

    Retailers offered attractive doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and consumers rewarded them with record spending.

    So far only the data on online spending has been tabulated, and those numbers are eye-popping. Adobe Analytics, which monitors traffic for 80 percent of the major online retailers, reports consumers spent $6.22 billion online on Black Friday, an increase of nearly 24 percent over 2017.

    However, Thanksgiving Day sales were even more impressive in terms of their growth. Adobe reports online spending on Thanksgiving totaled $3.7 billion, a 28 percent increase over last year. Adobe also noted that, for the first time, the prices on Thanksgiving Day were as low as those on Black Friday.

    Phil Dengler, a principal at shopping site BestBlackFriday.com, says this year's Black Friday deals compared very favorably to last year.

    "While quantities were limited on the some of the top doorbusters, I would say Black Friday is only improving," Dengler told ConsumerAffairs. "Many more deals are available online now, and more stores are participating."

    Other emerging trends included the increasing use of smartphones to place online orders. Adobe found a third of Black Friday's online sales originated on smartphones for a total of $2 billion. Consumers also made significant use of brick and mortar options to buy online and pick items up at the store. Adobe said "click and collect" orders were up 73 percent over last year.

    Foot traffic was down

    With increasing options to buy without having to actually go inside a store, foot traffic was down on Black Friday. The New York Times found several malls around the country it surveyed were not any more crowded than on a typical Friday.

    In years past, stores usually stocked a limited number of sale items, creating a frenzy among shoppers and sometimes dangerous stampedes. The Times reports that was largely absent this year.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that initial calculations show that Black Friday foot traffic in stores was lower than last year, continuing a trend that began with the surge in online shopping over the last decade.

    That said, brick and mortar stores did very well. According to real-time data supplied by Mastercard, overall sales on Black Friday reached $23 billion, a 9 percent increase over 2017.

    Cyber Monday deals

    Some retailers like Target and Amazon have expanded today's Cyber Monday sales into a week-long event by offering discounted items each day. Amazon's deals today include a wifi-connected smart pressure cooker for $89.95, marked down from $149.95; and an Ancestry DNA testing kit for $49, discounted from $99.

    Among Target's Cyber Monday deals is a Swagtron Metro hoverboard for $150, marked down from $230, and up to 50 percent off on hundreds of toys.

    Retailers offered attractive doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and consumers rewarded them with record spending.So far only the data o...
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    After a huge buildup, consumers may be ready to shop this Black Friday

    Retailers are offering better deals and competing to improve the shopping experience

    Americans may pause for a long holiday weekend filled with feasting and football, but for the nation's retailers, it's showtime.

    By now, consumers should be aware of the deals available from all the brick-and-mortar and online stores since the ad slicks have all leaked and are published all over the internet. You can check out some of the best deals here. The next few days will be all about making the sale -- getting consumers into the stores and onto the websites.

    Some stores will be open for at least a few hours on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly all will open at the crack of dawn on Black Friday. Our friends at BestBlackFriday.com have compiled this handy list of store openings.

    Amazon has been rolling out daily deals since the beginning of November, but it’s saving its doorbusters for the big day itself. Target and Walmart have also tried to entice consumers with early online deals. It seems to be working.

    Early online sales are up over last year

    Verizon tracks digital commerce with its Holiday Retail Index and reports that consumers are buying more online at this point than last year. Traffic was up 4.19 percent on Saturday compared to the last Saturday before Thanksgiving 2017. On Sunday, it was up over 14 percent compared to last year.

    "The early engagement from retailers appears to be paying off as traffic this year continues to grow from years past," said Michele Dupré, group vice president of Retail, Hospitality & Distribution, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “A strong trend in consumer confidence is highlighted by shopper’s interest in the early Black Friday deals that we started learning about in early November. The challenge will be to see if this trend can be maintained throughout the season."

    An analysis by Internet Retailer projects consumers will spend nearly 120 billion online in November and December, a 15 percent increase over last year's total. Meanwhile, consumers are being urged not to overlook their local, independent merchants.

    "America's 30 million small businesses reflect the unique character of their communities and Small Business Saturday is a day for consumers to support the local retailers that make their towns and cities special," said U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon. "When Americans shop at small businesses, they are supporting economic activity and job growth in their neighborhoods during this holiday season."

    The deals will continue on Cyber Monday, but most probably won't be announced until the weekend so they don't upstage Black Friday. Retail analysts say Cyber Monday may offer some of the best deals of the long weekend since retailers can make last minute adjustments to compensate for a less-than-stellar Black Friday.

    And if your wallet seems lighter after the long weekend, it probably is. According to a forecast by Salesforce, 40 percent of holiday spending will be done in the first week of the holiday shopping season.

    Americans may pause for a long holiday weekend filled with feasting and football, but for the nation's retailers, it's showtime.By now, consumers shoul...
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    Car dealers roll out their best deals for Black Friday

    But lack of confidence in the process could keep some consumers away

    The nation's car dealers are making a bid for a bigger slice of Black Friday spending this year by rolling out dozens of deals they hope will entice holiday shoppers into new car showrooms.

    If past years are any indication, the strategy will work. People in search of a good price on a new set of wheels may bypass the mall this year.

    If you're looking for an SUV, your Ford dealer will be offering zero percent financing for 60 months and $1,500 cash back on a 2018 Ford Escape. It comes with Ford's MyKey, a 4.2-inch display screen, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and a USB port. Options like navigation and adaptive cruise control are part of a higher trim level.

    The 2019 Kia Sportage also comes with interest-free financing for 60 months but lacks the cashback offer.  The base model comes with a USB port, satellite radio, and a five-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth. If you upgrade to a higher option package, you get a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    Acura lease deal

    Kelley Blue Book (KBB) has highlighted a handful of attractive new car deals available in November, all of which will be offered on Black Friday. Acura dealers will be offering the Acura ILX on a 36-month lease for $199 a month. It requires $2,499 down.

    For economy-minded shoppers, your Ford dealer is offering $4,000 cash back on the purchase of a Ford Focus. According to KBB, the car sells for around $18,661, meaning you can drive it away for less than $15,000.

    Ford is offering $5,000 cash back on the purchase of a Ford Explorer, which KBB says you should be able to purchase for just under $32,000. Chrysler is offering $4,500 on the Jeep Cherokee, with a Fair Purchase Price of just under $30,000.

    If you're in the market for an SUV, November is a great time to buy or lease with cash back and lease deals on top models," said Allyson Harwood, associate editor for KBB. "The Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, and Hyundai Tucson offer great value and practicality in a small SUV package. The Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee offer more room at a higher price point, but the savings this month could make them more affordable and worth a closer look."

    Lack of confidence

    Despite the competitive deal-making, new car sales have slowed in recent months -- reportedly because of market saturation. But a survey by Capital One Auto Finance suggests another possible reason. It found consumer concerns over the current car buying process, particularly transparency and the time it takes to make a purchase.

    "The car-buying process does not need to be a source of stress. And this current state of trust and transparency in car-buying needs to be addressed," said Jeff Rabinowitz, managing vice president of Capital One Auto Finance.

    The survey found only 6 percent of buyers think the process is completely transparent. Only 20 percent said they feel "very confident" when shopping for a car.

    The nation's car dealers are making a bid for a bigger slice of Black Friday spending this year by rolling out dozens of deals they hope will entice holida...
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