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Friday, November 27, 2009 11:26 AM

Online Shopping Traffic Up 10%; Walmart, Target Draw Crowds; Guilt Buying

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Market Research Findings is reporting Black Friday Traffic To Online Shopping Sites Grows 10 Percent.

Despite Challenging Economy, Black Friday Traffic To Online Shopping Sites Grows 10 Percent Year Over Year

Nielsen Online, a service of the Nielsen Company, reported today that Web traffic from home and work to the Holiday eShopping Index increased 10 percent year over year on Black Friday, growing from 28.8 million unique visitors in 2007 to 31.7 million unique visitors in 2008 across more than 120 representative online retailers.

Holiday eShopping Index Category Growth

Consumer Electronics was the fastest growing product category on Friday, increasing 219 percent from the previous Friday, November 21st. Shopping Comparison/Portals and Toys/Videogames took the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, with 83 and 73 percent Web traffic growth, respectively.

“Even with the weakening economy, an unstable stock market and a rising unemployment rate, Black Friday traffic to online retail sites grew at a double digit rate this year,” said Ken Cassar, vice president, industry insights, Nielsen Online. “Consumers are continuing to shift their holiday shopping to the Web for the convenience of not having to fight the crowds and to further stretch shrinking budgets. The fact that the Shopping Comparison/Portals category was the second fastest growing segment indicates that consumers continue to see the Web as the source for determining the best deals and prices of the season, which we expect to be top of mind for holiday shoppers this year.” Cassar continued, “With the season underway and consumers back at work, it will be interesting to compare activity for Cyber Monday and to see if the initial growth rate we saw on Black Friday holds up throughout the holiday shopping season.”

Black Friday Top 10 Online Retail Destinations

eBay was the top online retail destination on Black Friday with 9.8 million unique visitors, while Amazon and Wal-Mart followed with 8.4 million and 6.0 million unique visitors, respectively. Among the top ten online retail destinations, Circuit City was the fastest growing on Friday, increasing 352 percent over the previous Friday. Best Buy ranked No. 2 with a 196 percent increase in Web traffic and Target rounded out the top three with a 136 percent week over week growth.
Shoppers Seek ‘Elusive Game’

Bloomberg is reporting Shoppers Seek ‘Elusive Game’ at U.S. Best Buy, Target
Shoppers took advantage of Black Friday discounts to snap up televisions, laptop computers and robot hamsters at Best Buy Co., Target Corp. and Toys “R” Us Inc. stores from New Jersey to Texas.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, drew crowds with $298 Hewlett-Packard laptop computers and other doorbuster specials that went on sale at 5 a.m. Best Buy Inc., the biggest electronics chain, had bigger early-morning crowds than last year, Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn said. The lines in front of the stores were longer, and the company’s Web site attracted more visitors, Dunn said.

“Those are both directionally important indicators for us,” Dunn said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

“I do this because of my family,” Eihab Elzubier, a truck driver, said as he stood at the head of the line outside a Best Buy in Greensboro, North Carolina, before the store opened this morning. He arrived at 9 a.m. yesterday and kept his place in line with help of his wife, mother and sister.

$1,000 Savings

Elzubier, 41, figured the 20-hour wait will save him as much as $1,000. He planned to buy a 42-inch Samsung flat-panel TV for $547.99, a Sony laptop computer for $399.99, a Compaq laptop for $179.99, software and accessories.

The 12,000-car parking lot at Taubman Centers Inc.’s Woodfield Mall in Chicago was 35 percent full by 6 a.m., compared with 28 percent last year, Bill Taubman, chief operating officer of Taubman Centers, a U.S. real estate investment trust with 24 malls, said in a telephone interview.

“There’s a little more traffic than last year across the board, maybe 10 percent,” he said.
Feelin' Guilty?

Note the sentiment "I'm doing this for the family" or "doing this for the kids". That actually is a direct lie. They are doing it because it would make them feel guilty to not buy toys for the kids.

In other words they are doing it for themselves, so they feel good.

If someone wants to do something for the family they would buy a freezer and stock it with food items on sale, not flat-panel TVs and other junk that will likely be discounted even more after Christmas.

Buying stuff you cannot afford and do not need can never truly be "for the kids". And if it's not for the kids, who is it for?

The Next Guilt Trip

The next guilt trip comes when shoppers have to pay the bills or when they lose their job wishing they had that money back to live on.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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