Black Thursday? Thanksgiving Day pushing into retail prime time via onlineMore Americans are jumping on Black Friday deals by shopping online on Thanksgiving Day. The trend has been building almost without notice, but last year, people spent $407 million online shopping on Thanksgiving Day, up 28 percent from 2009, according to comScore, an outfit that measures online traffic and shopping.
By: Leslie Brooks Suzukamo, St. Paul Pioneer Press / MCT
Driving to the mall tonight just to get the jump on Black Friday?
Maybe you don't have to.
More Americans are jumping on Black Friday deals by shopping online on Thanksgiving Day. The trend has been building almost without notice, but last year, people spent $407 million online shopping on Thanksgiving Day, up 28 percent from 2009, according to comScore, an outfit that measures online traffic and shopping.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday were still bigger online shopping days, but their growth is slowing. Consumers spent $648 million shopping online on Black Friday last year, up 9 percent from the previous year, and $1.03 billion on Cyber Monday, up 16 percent, according to comScore.
Retailers have noticed the change: 51 percent of online sellers told Shop.org's eHoliday Survey that they will offer promotions specifically on Thanksgiving Day, the National Retail Federation reported.
Over the holiday season, shopping online is expected to grow about 17 percent compared with last year, to $46.7 billion, according to eMarketer, an online research company.
Online holiday sales for the first 20 days of November already are up 14 percent over last year, to $9.7 billion, comScore said Wednesday.
Retailers like Minnesota-based Best Buy feel the Thanksgiving sales jolt right after the pumpkin pie is polished off.
"Nine p.m. to 1 a.m. is when the peak activity is taking place," said John Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of BestBuy.com, the retailer's online site.
Thompson said the Richfield-based consumer electronics seller is committed to being a "multi-channel retailer," promoting features like free holiday shipping as early as Nov. 1 this year.
Best Buy pays close attention to industry forecasts to make sure its website is prepared for the shopping onslaught, he said.
"I think we can expect increased traffic throughout the season, beyond Thanksgiving Day," Thompson said.
The company has beefed up its online marketing, through banner ads on other sites, email marketing and on social media like Facebook, where it has 5 million fans, Best Buy spokeswoman Lisa Hawks said.
Target Corp., the nation's No. 2 discount retailer, is approaching the holiday kick-off with a black eye over the bulls-eye on its Target.com website.
The Minneapolis-based company's website has had several crashes this year, the most embarrassing in September, when frenzied shoppers stormed the cyber doors to buy items from fashion designer Missoni.
On Tuesday, Target announced it had promoted Casey Carl to oversee the company's digital platforms, including Target.com.
"Our team is working around the clock to ensure that the site is operating efficiently and delivers an exceptional guest experience that's reflective of Target's brand," spokesman Lee Henderson said Wednesday.
Distributed by MCT Information Services