Every year, the day after Thanksgiving (November 28 this year), a day known as Black Friday, Americans take to the streets for the biggest shopping day of the year, but Black Friday shopping is no longer just for Americans.
It has become the biggest shopping day the world over, and Internet sites offer unprecedented deals and huge sales.
During and after the economic crisis of 1869, deficits, expressed on the annual balance sheet with numbers in red ink, were usually replaced with a surplus, posted in black ink, because of large sales the day after the holiday. This convention is still used today when talking about cash flow in accounting software and during business presentations.
One theory says that this day of heavy shopping was enough to bring retailers out of the red and into the black for the entire year. In this way, many merchants were able to “move into the black” due to high profits from that one day alone. (The term Black Friday was originally in the US to refer to the “black mood” induced by the financial crisis of 1869 rather than the color of ink used in general accounting practices.) Black Friday is regarded as the peak day of consumerism.
Stores in the US tend to be overcrowded with people intent on buying holiday gifts at sale prices.
Many economists track sales from this one day and use the data to predict success for the year for the US retail market.
(For decades, Black Friday has been presumed to be the busiest shopping day of the year, even though the Saturday before Christmas actually brings in more revenue.) We’re currently living in a global age in which anyone with an Internet connection can enjoy a huge variety of products at good prices with the click of a button. People can have purchases delivered to their homes within a few days.
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Internet sales reached such a high level that it is affecting local retailers (so called “bricks and mortar stores”).
Of course, we cannot forget that there are sales on the Internet, too.
Adikastyle.com is offering 70 percent off on selected items from November 27 through December 1. Styleriver.com is offering 50%-70% off selected items for one day only – December 1 – and offers an additional 50% on items sold online.
Shoez Web Store is offering 50% off on all website items and free delivery from November 28 through December 1.
Restaurants are also joining in the fun. Burgers Bar is offering 50% off of its menu and Burger Ranch is offering 30% off all delivery orders that come in through its app on November 28. In addition, Israeli companies that market cosmetics, home decor and accessories are also offering Black Friday sales.
Most Israeli businesses, it seems, are not limiting sales to just one day. Maybe they realize that Israelis are not the type to flock to stores and wait on long line for hours on end.
Another popular Internet shopping day is the Chinese Singles Day, held every year on November 11. Apparently Chinese singles have chosen to lower the sadness of being alone by purchasing products on Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company. Alibaba broke all records this year with more than $9.3 billion in sales compared with $5.8 billion last year.
On Alibaba and other sites, millions of products are offered at extremely low prices – even lower than their normal discounted prices.
Customers can buy products including household appliances, innovative mobile accessories, electronic gadgets, clothing, jewelry, watches, makeup, shoes, bags – pretty much anything you can imagine – at 50%, 70% even 90% lower than retail value. Even brand names are on sale: LG, Sony, HTC and ZTE.
If you thought that the end of November was a bit early to start your holiday shopping, Walmart disagrees. They began Black Friday sales advertising earlier than usual this year with an announcement that they will match prices on any product available from Amazon.
Online shopping gained popularity when Americans became fed up with having to leave their house and stand in long lines for Black Friday sales.
The throngs of buyers who would converge on stores on Black Friday led in some instances to violence and shocking incidents of people getting trampled.
In one instance, a New York branch Walmart employee was killed and another four people injured on Black Friday 2008 after customers stormed the store when doors first opened. In another instance, two people were killed in a fight at a California Toys”R”Us after what appears to have been an argument between two groups of customers.
So retailers made the prudent decision to make purchasing online easier. Retailers benefit by reducing overhead and manpower costs, while relieving pressure on customers and making in-store shopping more pleasant. Most importantly of course, e-commerce has led to an increase in net sales.
Technology has burst into our lives by storm. With the click of a button, consumers can find incredible sales online, including loss leaders (when retailers sell products at a loss to entice customers to shop at their store or Internet site).
Spend your money wisely and happy shopping! Translated by Hannah Hochner.
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