Black Friday cyber deals attract more consumers than retail stores

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The Daily Universe asked BYU students what they thought about the mayhem that is Black Friday shopping. (video by Kelsey Edwards and Ryan Turner)
Alyssa Edwards helps a customer at the check-out line at Bath & Body Works. (Justin Elsbury) 

More consumers will shop online this year on Black Friday rather than going out to fight for the last pair of boots at a retail store, according the Business Wire.

BYU finance professor Jim Brau said cyber deals serve as economic substitutes to retail stores. He said economic substitutes generally decrease the demand for certain services.

Brau said this has shifted the trend of Black Friday shopping to online.

“If you want to get a laptop for your kid, in the old days you had to wait in line at 4 in the morning at Best Buy hoping to get a great deal,” Brau said. “Now you can get on (the internet) and find a better deal.”

In fact, more people will shop on Cyber Monday instead of Black Friday this year, according to the Business Wire.

Other factors, such as free online shipping on Amazon Prime, have increased online consumerism, according to Brau. He said the return policies on Amazon Prime attract consumers.

“The Amazon return policies, especially if you have Prime, are seamless,” Brau said. “They pay for your shipping back, they take (products) back for virtually any reason and they’ll come pick it up at your house.”

Walmart was the No. 1 first stop for consumers on Black Friday last year, according to Business Wire.

InfoScout, a company that collects data about consumer purchases, showed shoppers who went to Walmart first on Black Friday last year spent nearly twice as much than shoppers who went to Walmart second on Black Friday.

Amazon is projected to be the No. 1 first stop for consumers this year, and its holiday sales are expected to grow by double digits this year, according to Business Wire.

Brau said consumers prefer internet shopping on Black Friday because they are more certain they will be able to buy a product they want. He said they may not be certain they will get a product at a retail store, because someone may beat them to it.

“You see Barnes & Noble taking a run at online stuff to compete with Amazon Books. You see Walmart just buying jet.com trying to step up their online presence,” Brau said.

Brau said he works on old trucks and is able to purchase things on Autozone.com that he can’t find in the store.

Athletic training graduate Meagen Skousen is a manager for Lululemon in Salt Lake City, a retail business that sells yoga clothes. She said online sales haven’t affected sales within the store too much on Black Friday.

“We have so many sale items in store that are specific to our store and aren’t always online,” Skousen said. “We also sell some items at a lower price in store than they are online.”

Lululemon sends out an invite to its top guests to come in an hour early and get first dibs on products, according to Skousen.

Skousen said Lululemon focuses on making its online services convenient for users.

“Lululemon is huge online. They do free shipping on all orders always and ships within three to five days,” Skousen said.

Skousen prefers to stay in on Black Friday to shop, because she hates big crowds. However, this will be her third time working on Black Friday, and she said she has loved it so far.

Alyssa Edwards prepares Bath & Body Works for Black Friday at the University Mall. (Justin Elsbury)

“It’s so fun and there’s a really high energy in the store all day,” Skousen said.

Public relations junior Alyssa Edwards works at Bath & Body Works. She said Bath & Body Works has a great turnover of seasonal products. However, its website allows it to stay competitive when they run out.

“A lot of times when they discontinue things in the store, they keep them online,” Edwards said.

This has helped Bath & Body Works to develop a greater online presence, according to Edwards.

Edwards said she enjoys going out on Black Friday with her family each year, even though the trend is headimg toward online shopping. She said her family typically starts at Target on Black Friday.

“It’s fun to be together with family,” Edwards said. “We have a plan of where we are going and it gets us excited for the holidays right after Thanksgiving.”

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