Americans weren’t as eager as usual to hit stores on Black Friday

Global Business

The National Retail Federation expected U.S. holiday sales to rise 4.1 percent this year to nearly $617 billion. Black Friday is usually the busiest shopping day of the year, but this time Americans weren’t as eager as usual to hit the pavement and shop till they drop.

Stores across the United States offer all kinds of discounts known as “door busters” to lure in shoppers who often wake up early to get the best deals before they sell out.

“Five o’clock, why so early? Because we wanted to be there at six o’clock to start,” a shopper said.

But maybe people should have skipped the alarm. This year the crowds were noticeably thinner than usual.

“It hasn’t been bad. We see in the news people are like waiting in line, camping out, but we literally just walked by and we’re going to be in in 2 mins so it’s all good,” another shopper said.

The Internet has made it easier for people to avoid brick and mortar shops. Also, deals were offered the day before, which could have taken a bite out of Friday’s sales.

“Black Friday has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the past couple of years where people see footage of crazy crowds, they see all of these fights and they’re like I’m not going to go that day, I’m going to stay home and shop on a day that is more convenient for me,” said Jeannine Skowronski, an analyst at Bankrate.com.

Experts believed the last Saturday before Christmas could become the biggest shopping day of the year but Macy’s thought Black Friday will still be its top day and some other retailers also had a big turnout.

After a year of unimpressive sales, economists were hoping that cheaper gas prices and improving consumer confidence would compel more Americans to hit the stores.

CCTV America’s Karina Huber reported this story from New York.

Americans weren’t as eager as usual to hit stores on Black Friday

Americans weren’t as eager as usual to hit stores on Black Friday

The National Retail Federation expected U.S. holiday sales to rise 4.1 percent this year to nearly $617 billion. Black Friday is usually the busiest shopping day of the year, but this time Americans weren’t as eager as usual to hit the pavement and shop till they drop.


Alibaba brings Black Friday to China, connecting international customers

The traditional American shopping holiday “Black Friday” is coming to China now, courtesy of Alipay, the payment unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba. China’s online shopping sites were looking forward to that to boost traffic on their web sites, while lovers of foreign products were looking forward to more payment options and faster courier delivery services. CCTV America’s Hu Xiaocen reported this story from Shanghai.

Black Friday’s debut in China was good news for domestic shopping recommendation websites like MaiGePianYiHuo, which means “buy something cheap” in Chinese.

The site was founded by Dong Jianwei two years ago when he was a university student. He recommends hot deals on major e-commerce platforms daily, and also posts step-by-step shopping manuals for bargain hunters whose English is not good enough to manage foreign web sites.

The young entrepreneur claimed to have nearly 600,000 registered users, and expected his revenue to jump three to four times this month, boosted by November’s multiple shopping sprees.

“We have seen enormous growth in new users since Singles Day, which drove a lot of web traffic to us. It soared by 400 percent on Nov. 11, which was well beyond our expectations. Now that Alipay supports RMB payments for many overseas merchants, it will bring significant benefits to small companies like ours,” Dong said.

Alipay played a crucial role in processing the massive transactions on the Chinese version of Black Friday — Singles Day — Nov. 11. Alipay handled $9.3 billion during that single 24-hour shopping frenzy. The new services are expanding beyond China’s borders to allow local consumers to buy from American stores online.

“Our business expansion is following users’ demands. We see a growing number of consumers who want to buy things from overseas,” said Ma Zheng, group marketing head of the International Division at Ant Financial Services. “They want to enjoy the goods and cheaper prices of other countries. On the supply side, the international merchants also want to sell goods in China. Alipay works as the bridge to connect Chinese consumers with foreign merchants and brands.”

Alipay is now one of the payment options for over 2,000 consumer merchants and brands globally. This year it has caught some big fish in the United States, including American retailers like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.

Alipay has also launched a new service called ePass, which provides a total shopping solution including cross-border payments and international courier services. With an Alipay account, online shoppers can buy on foreign websites and then check out with orders priced in RMB. Courier fees and customs duties are listed and included.

Alibaba brings Black Friday to China, connecting international customers

Alibaba brings Black Friday to China, connecting international customers

The traditional American shopping holiday “Black Friday” is coming to China now, courtesy of Alipay, the payment unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba. China’s online shopping sites were looking forward to that to boost traffic on their web sites, while lovers of foreign products were looking forward to more payment options and faster courier delivery services.


Britt Beemerm of America’s Research Group discusses the US holiday shopping season

CCTV America interviewed Britt Beemerm, the chairman and founder of America’s Research Group, about the Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

Britt Beemerm of America’s Research Group discusses the US holiday shopping season

Britt Beemerm of America’s Research Group discusses the US holiday shopping season

CCTV America interviewed Britt Beemerm, the chairman and founder of America’s Research Group, about the Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.