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'Black Friday' Marks Start Of Holiday Shopping Season

Despite a number of online videos showing shoppers rushing through store doors at the stroke of midnight, grabbing haphazardly in an effort to get their hands on discounted items, Black Friday sales were down more than $1 billion this year compared to last.

Sales in brick and mortar stores fell from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $10.4 billion in 2015, TIME reports. That’s an overall 10 percent decrease in sales, a consequence of both stores offering sales days earlier and online sales that allowed consumers to shop from the comfort of their homes, The Guardian notes.

A big reason for the decline is increased online shopping, as Americans hunt down deals on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Many retailers are also offering bargains long before Thanksgiving, limiting the impact of Black Friday specials.

Online retailers have been bombarding customers with email discounts and bargains for weeks. Online sales jumped 14.3% on Friday compared with last year, according to Adobe, which tracked activity on 4,500 retail websites. Email promotions drove 25% more sales compared with 2014, the company said.

Brick-and-mortar retailers saw fewer customer visits on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, compared with last year, according to Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak’s chief revenue officer.

“Shoppers are researching products ahead of time, targeting their store visits, and arriving in store with the intention of making a purchase,” Kearns said.

But the drop in sales could also be contributed to actions across the nation to boycott Black Friday sales. The demonstrations, dubbed Black Out Black Friday and Not One Dime, were sparked by high-profile police brutality cases, including the fatal shooting of a Black Chicago teenager by a White cop. As originally reported by NewsOne, Chicago protestors planned large demonstrations on the city’s Magnificent Mile to disrupt the shopping holiday and present their demands, one of which included the request for a Justice Department probe into the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Friday’s demonstrations also highlighted protesters’ other demands, including the resignation of the police commissioner in Chicago over the fatal shooting.

It’s unclear just how much of a decrease in sales can be contributed to the activism, but organizers are planning to continue the effort, boycotting Black Friday’s successor, Cyber Monday.

St. Louis organization, Hands Up United, is urging the community to withhold the dollar once again to “expose the real terrorists,” according to a statement sent to NewsOne.

“After participating in Not One Dime, economic resistance during black Friday with several protests, Hands Up United and its supporters are now leading into exposing the real terrorists. It is absolutely critical for us to define state sanctioned violence against people of color from a perspective that accurately holds it’s purveyors accountable. We do not believe in the vilification of poor people from war torn lands. Lawmakers, prosecutors, and other forms of government officials remain idle as underprivileged people of color are executed in record breaking numbers,” the statement read.

Online sales this holiday season have raked in more than $2 billion, a 14 percent jump from 2014.

SOURCE: TIME, The Guardian | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

SEE ALSO:

BLACK OUT FRIDAY: Chicago Protesters Plan Black Friday Demonstration Over Laquan McDonald Death

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