We have a love-hate relationship with Black Friday. If we could, we’d encourage everyone to stay at home and save up pennies in a jar … but we’re realists. We know that deep discounts will lure most of you out to stores, so we’re here to share some interesting statistics with you—to help you be the smartest, most discerning shoppers out there.
- Last year, over 172 million shoppers turned out for Black Friday, up from 147 million the year before.
- On average, each shopper spent $372.57 over the post-Thanksgiving weekend alone, according to the National Retail Federation. This was up from $347.55 for the same weekend the previous year.
- Total Black Friday spending in 2008 reached $41 billion.
- This holiday season, average shoppers are expected to spend $800 to $1,000 each, according to Bruce McClary of ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. He warns, however, that these estimates don't account for the high unemployment rate, so they don't tell us how many fewer shoppers there will be.
- For eight consecutive months, according to Bruce McClary of ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, consumer debt has gone down on unsecured credit cards. This might be because, for the past six months, there has been an increase in national interest rates for credit cards (it's gone from 12.38% to 12.68% in just these few months!). Consumers are wary of becoming entangled in debt.
- Despite the economy, last year’s Black Friday spending was up 7.2% from 2007. Pundits believe it’s because consumers were driven by severely-slashed prices, since overall holiday spending dropped 3.4%, according to Gallup.
- Spending is expected to remain stable this year—unlike last year’s precipitous drop—as 57% of people polled said that they plan to spend the same amount as they did in 2008 and fewer people said they plan to cut back.
- According to polls, young adults (between 18 and 34) are planning to spend more on gifts this year than last.
- Two-thirds of shoppers (67.3%) will use a credit card for some online purchases this holiday season, according to the eHoliday study by BIGresearch, a firm that studies consumer spending habits.
- Consumer credit card usage is expected to be down at least 10%, according to BIGresearch. Roughly the same number of people are expected to pay with cash this year, instead.
If you must buy into Black Friday this year, we encourage you to be mindful of your account balances and the credit card charges you will—and won’t—be able to repay. Good luck out there, and get your sharp elbows ready! Above all, be careful, because remember, it doesn't pay to be broke.