Black Friday’s Record Online Sales

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Decorated Christmas Stores

The new challenge facing brick-and-mortar shops this holiday season seems to be the increasing presence of e-commerce in consumer’s daily lives. Retailers like Macy’s (NYSE:M), Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) made plans early this season to stave off competitors such as Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other e-retailers, which, unlike brick-and-mortar stores, have one distinct advantage: their doors never close.

Last year, online sales accounted for a full 40 percent of the $59 billion in sales amassed over the Black Friday weekend in 2012, and those numbers, paired with lethargic store traffic in the brick-and-mortar sphere mean that the pressure is on to lure customers into the shops. The pressures aren’t set to go away, either, with a recent Nielson survey estimating that just over 50 percent of shoppers are planning on buying something over the internet this year, a statistic up more than 10 percent from last year, compared to just 48 percent of consumers who said they were planning on visiting a “big box” store during this year’s biggest holiday shopping weekend.

As a result, Macy’s opened on Thanksgiving this year for the first time ever, and other chain retailers have begun offering Black Friday deals earlier in the day Thursday, or utilizing tactics to get customers through the door, such as keeping deals hidden until consumers set foot in store, and only unveiled at a specific time, a strategy employed by Best Buy this year. This strategy aims to prevent other retailers from matching or beating their prices, in addition to luring customers in store. Other retailers put more of their deals on the web, so as to better compete with online retail giants.

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