With American consumers set to spend less over holidays, many are focused on stretching their dollars as Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, approaches. Fully aware of the new consumer mindset, many retailers have started teasing their Black Friday deals on the Web, while some have even began the in-store sales and offers early. In anticipation, consumers have been heading online to prepare for the door-busting sales awaiting them the day after Thanksgiving.
During the last weeks of October and early weeks of November, the number of unique visitors to the top Web sites offering previews of Black Friday sales, such as bfads.net, has quickly been increasing. Week-over-week, traffic to these sites has increased 87 percent, from 3.8 million unique visitors during the week ending Nov. 8 to 7.0 million during the week ending Nov. 15.
“As we saw in our recent online holiday survey, consumers plan on bargain hunting more extensively this year in order to save money and many view the Internet as the place to do this,” said Maya Swedowsky, associate research director, Nielsen’s online division. “Multi-channel retailers can leverage these Black Friday Web sites to draw consumers into their brick-and-mortar stores on the big day.”
Among the top Web sites dedicated to Black Friday deals and previews, TGI BlackFriday was the fastest growing in terms of unique visitors, increasing 154 percent week-over-week during the week ending Nov. 15. BlackFriday.fm and BlackFridayAds.com were the No. 2 and No. 3 fastest growing, increasing 125 and 114 percent, respectively.
Consumers are also spending more time on these sites, scoping out the best deals on the perfect gift. Total minutes spent on the top deal sites increased 763 percent over the last four weeks, from 6.3 million minutes during the week ending Oct. 25 to 54.6 million minutes in the week ending Nov. 15.
In addition to searching for Black Friday deals online, shoppers are actively discussing the deals they plan to take advantage of, both in-person and online. Amazon's Black Friday deals were the most buzzed about during the last 30 days, with Wal-mart and Best Buy coming in at No. 2 and No. 3.
"Shoppers aren't the only ones generating buzz about Black Friday deals. Retailers are taking advantage of social media and using it as a channel to share sneak previews of deals and to get shoppers excited," commented Swedowsky.
These early marketing activities have led to a boost in buzz for some retailers. Staples, one of the first retailers to announce details about its holiday deals on Facebook and Twitter, ranked 9th among the most buzzed about Black Friday shopping destinations.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, we expect to see an increasing number of retailers using the Internet and Social Media to drive in-store and Internet sales.