There was much frenzy this Black Friday, but was it all worth it? Consumers may ask themselves that now that it’s all over. The statistics concerning this year’s sales are out. This year more retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day, in an attempt to make up for the poor economy and late start for the holiday season. Retailers pushed advertisements, giving consumers the idea that they would never get these sales again. This resulted in increased competitive behaviors and in some cases, crazy antics.
Across the country countless reports are being made about the extreme behaviors witnessed this Black Friday. At a California Walmart a woman pepper sprayed fellow shoppers. The woman was described to be Hispanic and between the age of 32 and 38, reportedly sprayed a crowd of people reaching for the Xbox video consoles. The woman was not apprehended but was able to pay for her purchases and fled the scene before the police arrived.
A New Jersey man who got into an argument with a Walmart manager was arrested and received a number of charges. The man was accused of attacking a police officer who arrived on the scene when the store manager called for help.
Two men in Virginia were both arrested. Ronnie Sharp, 61, and Christopher Jackson, 35, were fighting for a parking space at a Walmart. Sharp pulled a rifle on Jackson and then cut his arm with a knife. Both men were charged.
In Las Vegas a target customer returning home with a big screen TV was injured in a robbery attempt. The assailant who had his eyes on the man’s new TV fired a warning shot at the man. When the TV was dropped the assailant tried to steal it. The man would not allow that and struggled with the assailant. The man was shot in the leg as a result. Then there was the fight that ensued at a Southern California Walmart due to line cutting.
The reports are numerous. Fortunately there were no deaths as in previous black Friday’s. But the question remains. Were this year’s sales successful enough to warrant all this violence? Was all the frenzy worth it?
Let’s do the math. According to Shopper Trak LLC (a market researcher) total spending this Thursday to Sunday dropped from last year by 3 percent. Total sales equaled $57.4 billion with a shopper average of $407.02. That number is down by 4 percent from last year’s $423.55.
The amount of people engaging in shopping did increase. However, more stores choosing to open on Turkey Day this year affected the numbers drastically. Thursday’s openings increased store traffic by 27 percent, but that cut into Friday. Cumulatively sales on Thursday and Friday rose by 2.3 percent from last year but Friday’s actual sales were down by 13.2 percent. Retailers depend on Black Friday sales. The entire holiday season equals a fifth of U.S retailers annual sales. Though Black Friday sales do not always predict the outcome for the season, its influence on the market is great. Unfortunately, according to Shopper Trak’s founder and executive VP Bill Martin, forecasts show that this year’s Black Friday may be the worse since 2009.
The poor showings may prove all the frenzy to unbeneficial to retailers and the weak economy. For those who are beginning their holiday season with an arrest or unwarranted injury the sales may have been over rated. But for those who survived this weekend without a scratch, and were actually able to purchase some items on their lists, they are the winners.
By Earnestine Jones
The Post Standard