Even in the era of online, Black Friday lures a crowd
A drizzly day didn’t stop Merced-area shoppers from getting deals on Black Friday, which continues in its popularity despite the online options for holiday shopping.
Early predictions from a number of industry groups suggest Americans are on track to spend more this holiday season than last — and about 164 million people said they planned to start during the Thanksgiving day weekend.
Steven Ortiz packed a 55-inch Samsung TV into his SUV about noon on Friday outside Merced’s Best Buy. The 28-year-old said Best Buy had knocked about $200 off of the $600 flat screen.
“I like to go when the crowd dies down. I don’t need no major deals,” he said. “I went to Costco this morning and bought Christmas presents.”
The gifts were mostly for his two children, nieces and nephews, he said. Ortiz wasn’t the only person spending money the day after Thanksgiving.
A National Retail Federation survey estimated that consumers will spend, on average, about $1,007 per shopper, which is about 4.1 percent more than last year.
The industry group’s survey dovetails with the results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll which found that about 39 percent of Americans planned to take part in Black Friday shopping.
The unofficial holiday has waned in importance in recent years as competitive retailers open at earlier and earlier times. That trend, however, seems to have tapered off, with some 100 prominent retailers deciding to remain closed on Thanksgiving day, according to PwC.
Brick-and-mortar stores have worked hard to prove they can counter the competition from online behemoth Amazon.
From Macy’s to Target and Walmart, retailers are blending their online and store shopping experience with new tools like digital maps on smart phones and more options for shoppers to buy online and pick up at the stores.
Black Friday itself has morphed from a single day, when people got up early to score door busters, into a whole month of deals.
Merced County law enforcement said the early morning shopping was free of any major incidents locally.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A Best Buy employee helps load a TV into the SUV of 28-year-old Steven Ortiz of Merced, left, last week on Black Friday.