Figures out from comScore show Online Black Friday sales rising 1% this year compared to last year.
Naturally, some are welcoming the news as a positive in a sea of negative economic news and to be fair, not seeing a decline in sales is a positive of sorts when many predicted less spending.
But take a look at the broader news, including a appalling Walmart Stampede Death. Shoppers always like a bargain and stampedes and injuries aren't completely new (although a death would be a rarity); what it would though seem to demonstrate is that shoppers this year are MORE desperate for bargains given the broader economic crisis.
Black Friday sales are up because consumers have less money to spend, and are trying to save money by buying at sales.
Consider the economic trends of any recession or even during the Great Depression. What we see is a reduced spending capacity in the market as a whole, but likewise consumption never dies. It may decline, but it declines relative to spending capacity. Shoppers become more frugal, so what they buy must fit their ability to spend, and what better time to get value for money than at the Black Friday sales, particularly for those smart enough to plan ahead and buy early Christmas presents. The 1% figure is actually worse than it should have been; Black Friday sales should have been higher given a mild economic crisis, indicating that the economy is in worse shape again because a sure sign of a deep recession or even depression is when people stop spending on non-necessities and save.