Black Friday, the Friday after US Thanksgiving, has become the traditional kick off to the holiday shopping season. It’s a time when retailers start to see profitability and shoppers are lured by sharp discounts and great deals.
This year’s November 27th did not disappoint as wireless carriers announced a slew of promotions and price cuts to entice new subscribers and tempt customers to switch carriers. Trends towards consumers favoring online over in-store shopping and a preference for shopping via mobile device both saw a decided uptick this year.
Here’s our Black Friday 2015 Roundup for some of the deals and sales on offer, holiday shopping trends and how this year stacks up against the last few Black Fridays.
Carriers Duke It Out With Offers Galore
Some of the day’s big carrier offers included Sprint providing service at half the price of what AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon charge. Meanwhile, T-Mobile countered with $200 for Sprint subscribers who switch, plus $650 to cover their early termination fees. Also on offer from T-Mobile: unlimited data for 3 months for everyone.
Verizon promotions included $500 discounts to switchers and also urged customers to “give a gig” with a 1GB gift card for just $10. Verizon went on to give a free gig of data themselves to their customers for Thanksgiving. MetroPCS jumped on the give away bandwagon with a smartphone “Buy One Get One” offer for a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, Kyocera Hydro Wave, LG Leon, LG 450 or ZTE Obsidian on activation.
Demand Shifts From In-store To Online & Holiday Frenzy Starts Even Earlier
This year saw the Black Friday in-store sales crush start to be replaced with mobile and online searches for the best deals and specials. According to ShopperTrak, retail sales saw a decline from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $10.4 billion this year. At the same time, online sales added up to $2.72 billion this year, an increase of 14% from last year, according to Adobe.
Thanksgiving Day shopping become a bit more of the norm, diluting some of the impact of Black Friday, even as there was push back from consumers and a backlash for shopping on the holiday itself, with some major retailers once again closing for Thanksgiving Day. Whereas Black Friday used to traditionally begin the holiday season, retailers are now promoting holiday sales as early as Halloween, softening some of the Black Friday sales impact.
Shoppers Smartphone It In: 1/3 of Online Sales Via Mobile Device
Mobile phone use for online purchases increased a whopping 70% from 2014, with smartphones comprising 22% of this year’s Thanksgiving/Black Friday online sales. Black Friday mobile shopping accounted for $583 million in sales.
How 2015 Stacks Up
Shoppers were the biggest winners, while brick and mortar retailers took a significant hit this year. Consumers were able to take advantage of early advertising and offers from October onward and were able to thoroughly research and hunt down bargains online well in advance of Black Friday. They opted to spend more online, with mobile outperforming desktop for placing those online orders. Overall sales for the day fell by approximately $1 billion.