Be prepared next week for a cacophony of hand-wringing and prognosticating about retail sales figures reported on “Black Friday.” Retailers traditionally count on holiday shoppers to put them “in the black” for the year with a surge of purchases on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
But if you really want to understand this year’s retail sales picture, wait til the Monday after Thanksgiving. “Black Monday” is day a lot of people return to work, fire up the computer, and begin their online holiday shopping.
Recent reports suggest that the recession has boosted rather than harmed electronic commerce, for one simple reason: the Internet makes it a lot easier to find the best price for many common purchases. Numerous recent posts tell this story:
The most popular online sites on STORES Magazine’s list include those of established merchants, such as Walmart, Best Buy, JC. Penney, and Target. They also include the pure online plays, such as Amazon.com, eBay, and Overstock.com. Craigslist — the site where I hunt for used and free stuff — made Stores’ “Top 50″ list for the first time this year. That’s surely a sign that the recession has been a boon to online shopping!