On this week's installment of the Digital City, it's the post-Black-Friday special, where we discuss the latest economic woes, our holiday wish lists, Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday, the new MTA text alert system, and Blockbuster's lastest idea--a set-top streaming movie box.Listen now: Download today's podcast
It wasn't a blockbuster, but Black Friday wasn't a bust, either.
ComScore on Sunday reported that online, nontravel retail sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally a big day for consumer spending, reached $534 million. That's up from the same day a year ago, but just barely--online retail sales rose just 1 percent, from $531 million.
On Saturday, comparison-shopping site PriceGrabber.com said that Web shopping traffic on Black Friday was up 11 percent. The Nintendo Wii was the most popular item, according to both PriceGrabber and eBay.
Sales on Thanksgiving Day itself rose 6 percent to $… Read more
Update 2:03 p.m. PST: Added NPD and Apple paragraphs.
Black Friday proved to be a relatively bright light in an economy largely characterized by dark, gloomy reports.
Overall, retail sales for the day after Thanksgiving were up 3 percent from the same day in 2007, with preliminary estimates putting total sales in the U.S. at $10.6 billion, according to Shoppertrak RCT. (Shoppertrak derives its retail benchmark from a wide range of categories, including consumer electronics, sporting goods, apparel, and general merchandise.)
Web shopping saw an even larger percentage gain for the day, with traffic up 11 … Read more
Some consumers, on the other hand, will shun shopping and observe "Buy Nothing Day," a loosely organized protest against conspicuous consumption. The idea comes from Adbusters, an artsy glossy that counts a circulation of 100,000, plus 80,000 online members of its "culture-jamming" network of social pranksters.
Participants in a wiki for the event have planned demonstrations at shopping centers around the country, including the mammoth Mall of America in Minnesota. Some San Franciscans are opting to swap used stuff at the Really Really Free Market outside in Dolores Park. Wikipedia entries track activities in 65 countries.
The Adbusters Web site suggests repeating pranks performed by tens of thousands of people at malls in recent years, like wandering around in zombie gear. Some might stage a "Whirl Mart," roaming in packs at Wal-Mart stores with packed shopping carts, yet declining to buy anything. Armed with scissors, other participants may offer strangers the free "service" of a credit card cut-up.
Millions of people have heard of Buy Nothing Day by now and it grows each year, although there's no official count of the faithful, according to Kalle Lasn, Adbusters editor in chief and co-founder.
As lists of corporate collapses and layoffs lengthen, the notion of buying less or nothing is becoming less an option and more of a necessity for many people. That's an "I told you so" moment for activists such as those at Adbusters.
"If people had heeded the buy-nothing message, then we wouldn't be in this mess," Lasn said. "This glorified spending and borrowing of the past 10 years is really the root cause of this financial and economic meltdown we're in now."… Read more
Wow, what a colossal disappointment this Black Friday has been. I've spent the better part of the morning looking for eye-popping, never-before-seen, gotta-have-it deals, and you know what I've come up with (besides a sentence ending with a preposition)?
This: Amazon has a 16GB iPod Touch (1st-generation) for $199.99 shipped. Whoop-de-do. I mean, that's pretty good, but I just couldn't muster much excitement for anything else. There's Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Edition for $59.99 (Xbox 360 or Wii). Yeah, OK, not bad. But everything else? Meh.
Now, if you were crazy enough to pitch … Read more
It's Black Friday, that time-honored American consumer tradition of gathering with fellow shoppers to give thanks for Costco, Target, Kohl's, and JC Penney.
While we haven't spotted many amazing deals on consumer electronics for this year's buying bonanza, we did manage to dig up a few steals. And it got us wondering. Just how far would you go to get your hands on a cheap Blu-ray player or a Nikon D40 with a two-lens kit for $549?
Vote in our poll, and if we missed something, be sure to let us know in our Talkback section. … Read more
Taking a peek at the big Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, there are plenty of big-screen TVs and cameras, but not quite as many laptops. That's surprising, because based on the extreme interest readers expressed for Walmart's $298 Celeron-powered Compaq laptop earlier in November, we suspect a lot of people will be looking for laptop bargains during the holiday weekend.
Industry watchers say many of the deals this year aren't particularly exciting, so you may have to dig a little deeper to find a bargain. Here are a few of the Black Friday laptop deals we spotted … Read more
For many, nothing says the day after Thanksgiving like queuing before dawn outside their favorite store.
To help you out, we here at Crave have compiled some of the best Black Friday deals (both online and off) we could find.
Click here or on the picture above for a link to all the discounted goodness.