Black Friday has become the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season and according to urban myth, it’s also the day when retailers start to show a profit. Whether or not that’s true, the day after Thanksgiving has been the biggest shopping day before Christmas for the last eight years, according to ShopperTrak, a market research company.
ShopperTrak’s research shows that Americans spent $10.69 billion dollars on Black Friday 2010—the largest amount spent on a day after Thanksgiving holiday shopping spree.
ShopperTrak said the second biggest shopping day is known as Super Saturday, which this year falls on December 17, the last Saturday before the Christmas weekend.
Retailers have already started on their holiday displays, part of that strange phenomenon known as “Christmas Creep.” Even Black Friday is starting early this year, with many Town and Country and Manchester retailers opening at the stroke of midnight instead of waiting for 4am door buster sales. , , Macy's and are opening at midnight for the first time.
Shoppers can plan out a strategy for their Black Friday attack with the help of online sites that publish Black Friday ads as soon as they are released. You can also go straight to the source—some stores are posting their own ads early. Target is offering an email alert to preview their ad and is asking shoppers to become their Facebook friend to get in on the best deals.
Shoppers should also call up their favorite locally-owned stores to see if they are planning a big Black Friday sale. Most smaller retailers keep to their normal business hours for Black Friday, but they’re sure to offer tempting bargains for their loyal customers.
The National Retail Federation has been collecting data on holiday shoppers for the last ten years. The NRF said that Black Friday has transformed from a “leisurely mid-morning venture around a handful of stores to a competitive free-for-all among retailers eager to nab those first holiday shoppers.” 24 percent of shoppers they surveyed hit stores before 4am.
The NRF also said that the 2011 holiday season will be average with an expected sales increase of 2.8 percent. The figure is lower than the 5.3 percent increase stores saw in 2010, but it’s still higher than the average increase of 2.6 percent seen in the last ten years.