With a relatively soft year so far in consumer electronics, especially for TVs, a lot of pressure has been placed on retailers to pull off a successful holiday selling season. Of course, Black Friday is the first big test of that effort and DisplaySearch is out observing the action. This is the first of a series of near real-time updates on Black Friday 2011.
Visits to several retail locations in the southern and northern California markets show a significant increase in apparent store traffic, in excess of 1000 people in some locations. Parking lots were very full for Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Fry’s. This could be due to the earlier opening times, around midnight in most cases as opposed to 4am last year, or possibly the very aggressive promotions, especially for TVs.
A survey of customers waiting near the front of lines shows that most arrived late afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, although some have been camped for days. At Best Buy, most early line sitters were waiting to buy a Sharp 42? 1080p LCD TV for $199 or a Sharp 60? for $799. In fact, most of the first people in line were waiting for TVs. Tickets handed out at Best Buy for guaranteed door-buster stock were gone within the first 100 people or so. Additional hot items included a Panasonic 46? plasma for $399 and a Dynex 24? for $79.
Keep in mind this is just a limited survey of a handful of locations. We will report on stock levels and feedback from personal interviews later in the morning. One thing is apparent though: Black Friday seems to be off to a good start.
About Paul Gagnon
Paul is Director, North American TV Research for DisplaySearch. He focuses on TV market forecasting and analysis, as well as consulting and conferences.