Search Data Suggests Black Friday Hesitation

While retailers are holding their breath for a strong Black Friday this week, some new online data suggests people may not be as excited about the event as in years past.

Online research firm Hitwise found searches related to Black Friday deals are lower right now than they were this time last year. While the searches had been growing year-to-year for some time, they’ve now dropped back almost to 2006 levels on a week-to-week comparison.

As you can see in Hitwise’s graph, the searches are still climbing, so the verdict isn’t in just yet and it’s still possible that people are just delaying their deal hunting.

Another noteworthy shift: Hitwise analysts found Black Friday-related search terms are becoming more specific and complex this season. More people are looking for certain retailers rather than generalized deals, with retailer-specific searches up 11 percent so far from 2007.

It may not all be the economy, though. A report published at The Wall Street Journal this morning predicts Cyber Monday sales will increase this year, with more and more retailers focusing on the post-Black Friday Internet rush. A survey by Shop.org found 83.7 percent of stores are planning promotions for next Monday, compared to 72.2 percent last year.

If you’re looking for the best places to find Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, we’ve made it simple for you. Check out our list of “10 Easy Ways to Find Black Friday Deals Online” for some strong starting places.