Consumerism craze


Apparently, when prices drop people go bat-shit crazy

Rikkeal Bohmann

Americans went crazy for savings as Black Friday hit The United States on Nov. 23. According to a survey from the American National Retailer Federation, and estimated 147 million people went shopping to find the best deals of the year throughout the Black Friday weekend.

The mayhem gets so out of control that police supervision is often required at some of North America’s larger shopping centres. The Los Angeles Police department used helicopters over some malls, while police on the ground were on bikes and horses to keep the crowds in check.

The hordes of people are continuously growing over the years, as stores try to open earlier to accommodate the increase in shoppers. This year, some stores chose to open late on Thursday night, which was Thanksgiving Day in America, to start the shopping experience earlier. Outside of Macy’s in New York, and estimated 11,000 people lined up, waiting for the store to open its doors.

Given the crowed shopping malls and long lines, online shopping saw a predictable increase in activity.

Chris Street, an associate professor of business administration at the University of Regina, sees no reason why online shopping would decrease in the future, but is always surprised at how small the numbers actually still are when compared with shopping at a physical store.

“A person by themselves, or in a group, goes shopping for two reasons: to buy something and for the event.” – Chris Street

Forrester Research Inc. released a projection in early February last year that online shopping in the U.S. will spend $327 billion in 2016, this is up 465% from the $226 billion to be spent this year, and up 62% from the $202 billion spent for online shopping in 2011. 

In Canada, where every eight out of 10 people have access to the internet, online shopping is rising as well, according to Statistics Canada. In 2009 online shopping was valued at $15.1 billion, up from $12.8 billion in 2007.

Street believes there are two main differences between online shopping and going to an actual store.

“A person by themselves, or in a group, goes shopping for two reasons: to buy something and for the event.”

Online shopping only has the consumerism aspect, while lacking the outing experience that shopping at a physical store brings.

“This is a huge benefit for retailers to get the sale, but they don’t have to fight the crowds,” he said.     

According to CTV news, a recent poll found 82 per cent of American consumers plan on not going Black Friday shopping this year, while 30 per cent plan to take part in Cyber Monday – the online equivalent of Black Friday. Canadians may be even crazier on savings this year, with 44 per cent of Canadians planning to shop on Cyber Monday, stated a BMO poll.

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