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American Shoppers Show Semblance of Sanity During Subdued Black Friday Sales

Could this be the beginning of the end for the fiasco of Black Friday?  We can only hope so.

The madness of the holiday rush has traditionally been heralded by an ugly and materialistic affair known as Black Friday, in which shoppers are pitted against one another in a retail arenas around the nation.

It’s almost unnerving that the wild, often violent spectacle exists at all.  The selfishness of Black Friday seems to run counter to the very ethos of  the holidays themselves; Christmas is about giving to one another and celebrating the birth of Christ, and Thanksgiving centers around the idea of being grateful for what you already have.  Clawing at salt screen televisions in the predawn hours at a big box store just doesn’t comport with this.

Based on what retailers are reporting today, it seems as though Americans are starting to understand how silly the whole thing is.

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“We’ve seen many merchants start their promotions pretty much right after the trick-or-treaters have gone to bed,” said Lauren Bitar, head of retail consulting at analytics firm RetailNext.

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Visits to retailers showed more shoppers after a sluggish start Friday – but frantic crowds were nowhere to be seen.

“We tend to have more deals in-store so people come in rather than go online … the only problem today is we didn’t expect how slow it would be,” said Mariah Berry, 22, a trainee supervisor at a Chicago Uniqlo.

While store traffic still remains an important indicator, a lot of Black Friday shopping now happens online. Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers, estimates $7.5 billion in online sales for Black Friday, up 20.5% year-over-year.

U.S. online sales on Thanksgiving Day jumped 17% to $4.1 billion, according to Salesforce. Global online revenue rose ever faster.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the fiasco of Black Friday?  We can only hope so.

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