Black Friday carnage

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - December 6, 2020 - 12:00am

Black Friday is the informal name given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

This year, Black Friday fell on Nov. 27.

Black Friday, as one report explained, is the US’s biggest shopping event of the year when many shops cut their prices on a wide variety of products to boost profits and officially kick off the festive season.

It is said that police officers in Philadelphia were the first to link Black Friday to the post-Thanksgiving period in the 1950s when large crowds of tourists and shoppers came to the city after Thanksgiving for the Army-Navy football game, creating chaos, traffic jams and shoplifting opportunities. As police officers in the city had to work long shifts to control the carnage and were not able to take the day off, they used the term Black Friday to refer to the event. The term was later used in an advertisements and by the late 1980s, it became linked to post-Thanksgiving sales.

According to another report from cnbc.com, consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6 percent year over year, quoting data from Adobe Analytics. Adobe analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 US online retailers.

In previous years, shoppers in the US – and even in other parts of the world queue outside shopping malls and other retail outlets to take advantage of huge discounts given on Black Friday.

But this year, the same report said that the pandemic convinced more shoppers to stay home and shop online from their sofas, this time avoiding crowded stores and waiting in lines at malls.

This, the report stressed, made Black Friday 2020 the second largest online spending day in history in the US, behind Cyber Monday last year.

It was observed that new consoles, phones, smart devices, and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases shared online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox  purchases like groceries, clothes, and alcohol which before were purchased in-store.

Last Friday, Adobe found consumers spent $6.3 million per minute online or $27.50 per person on the average. Smartphone spending went up 25.3 percent to reach $3.6 billion, or 40 percent of total e-commerce spending. Meanwhile, hot items on Black Friday included Hot Wheels, Lego sets, Apple Airpods, Apple Watches, Amazon Echo devices, and Samsung TVs, as consumers scoured the web for things to entertain themselves and their kids, the report noted.

Also, online grocery shopping on Black Friday rose 397 percent compared with October daily averages, according to the Adobe survey, with sales of personal care products increasing 556 percent and online spending on pet products rising 254 percent.

Even in the Philippines – which does not celebrate Thanksgiving Day, retailers and shoppers also took part in the shopping holiday.

In a survey, Picodi.com revealed that 59 percent of Filipinos took part in last year’s Black Friday sales (which include days leading to and the weekend after Black Friday)

Regions where interest in Black Friday sales increased the most from 2016 to 2019 included the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which took the first place and where interest in discounts increased by 133 percent. Western Visayas placed second with a 90 percent increase, followed by Caraga with an 88 percent.

The survey showed that the least interested in Black Friday sales are citizens of Mimaropa region where there was no increase in search queries connected to Black Friday sales.

Picodi.com revealed that statistically, Filipinos spend P4,003 on Black Friday. Men spend twice as much money than women during Black Friday sales: P6,052 vs P2,854. But it noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean that men buy more than women, because they could just be buying more expensive items.

When asked about Black Friday spending, 18 percent of the respondents claimed they are going to spend a similar amount as last year, 53 percent said that they plan to spend more, while 29 percent was going to spend less money than last year.

We just have to wait for the next to survey to find out what exactly happened among Filipinos last Friday.

The Picodi survey likewise showed that food delivery is among the products which rule during Black Friday sales (51 percent), followed by clothes at 32 percent, groceries at 25 percent, shoes and electronics tied at 21 percent each, home appliances and cosmetics 16 percent each. Child care products, books, and gifts rounded out the top 10 categories – at 12, 10, and nine percent respectively.

Banner year for RCM

Despite the pandemic, this year has been a productive one for the Rotary Club of Manila (RCM).

Under the leadership of its president Robert Joseph and its directors and officers, RCM made some remarkable accomplishments, including outreach programs for Tuloy Foundation of Fr. Rocky Evangelista, the cancer-stricken children at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), and the Hospicio de San Jose Cerebral Palsy Center Project.

Last month, RCM handed over $3,000 and safety equipment to PGH president Gerardo Legaspi, with the money coming from its sister club, the Rotary Club Osaka East and the medical supplies sent by Rotary Club of Shanghai, a member of the Centennial Circle organized by RCM.

RCM was also able to raise P140,000 as a start for Tuloy Foundation and according to Joseph, they are committed to supporting Tuloy all year round.

The club also supports the hydroponics vegetable, training and supply of equipment in collaboration with the district, the Rotary Education Assistance Program (REAP), and grants from different clubs overseas for another project with the Hospicio de San Jose.

RCM is likewise intensifying the Ambassador of Goodwill Program, the campaign for clean water through its Save Manila Bay Project, and The Rotary Ecological and Environmental Strategem (TREES) program -- which includes tree planting, conservation and development of clean water, education for barangay captains on sustainable waste management, and plastics recycling training.

 

 

For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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