Nov. 7, 2016- “Black Friday” also known as the day after Thanksgiving, is the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. Consumer’s brave long crowds and stay up through the midnight hours at brick-and-mortar locations to get those once a year deals, making Black Friday the single busiest shopping day of the year. While most consumers like to go out and shop, many are opting to shop from the comfort of their couch this year.
According to Adobe, online holiday sales for 2016 are set to increase by 11 percent and reach $91.6 billion. In 2015, Black Friday generated $2.74 billion in online sales. This year, Adobe is predicting online sales for Black Friday to pass the 3 billion dollar mark for the first time in holiday shopping history.
There is also evidence of a shift in the way shoppers are researching and buying, as well as the way stores are advertising. According to the BBB, 82 percent of shoppers use their phone while they shop to look up reviews on products and compare prices from other stores, while 61 percent of shoppers researched sales prior to Thanksgiving.
If you’re not sure what to get for someone this holiday season we have you covered. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual consumer spending survey conducted by Proper Insights & Analytics, gift cards still remain the most popular gifts, sought by 61 percent, followed by clothing and accessories (54 percent), books, cd’s and DVDs (40 percent- which is the lowest in survey history), consumer electronics (32 percent), sporting goods (19 percent) and home improvement items (17 percent).
According to that survey, consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 during the holiday shopping season and consumers will shop around and split their time almost evenly between the top three destinations with 57 percent shopping at department stores and online, and 56 percent at discount stores.
The busiest stores on Black Friday are often cell phone and electronic stores with foot traffic being the heaviest between 2-4 p.m.
Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties recommend the following tips to make this shopping season an enjoyable one.
Public Wi-Fi: It’s alright to look-up reviews or compare prices using public Wi-Fi, but it’s best to avoid logging on to any of your banking sites or other sites with sensitive personal information. Public Wi-Fi is often vulnerable to thieves and fraudsters who are looking to steal your info.
Email Subscription: Many stores communicate their best Black Friday deals to people who have signed up to receive their emails. Just remember, you should never send cash or credit card information directly in respond to an email you receive, even if it seems legit. It could be a phishing scam.
Email Phishing: With all the promotional emails you’ll be receiving during the holidays, scammers will be out in full force. It’s best not to click on any links in emails from senders you don’t recognize. You can also hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is really taking you to where it says it is. Also, check the reply email address. The address should be on a company domain.
Gift Receipts and Warranty Information: Asking for a gift receipt can be tucked into a gift item or card so that the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right. Be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item.
Research: Read product reviews, check out BBB.org/ccie for Business Reviews, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices, and look for early promotions and “flash sales.” For tips on searching online, check out BBB Digital IQ.
(source: BBB news release)