The day after Thanksgiving is known as the busiest shopping day of the year, and the madness continues well into the weekend. Today, Bloomberg, a financial publication, reported post-holiday sales jumped 22% in the post-holiday weekend. They also reported more people were charging their purchases than last year.
Shoppers filled up cart after cart as the countdown to Christmas kicked off this weekend. "There was a lot of business, lot of traffic, lot of excited customers, and a lot of excited employees. A lot of product going out the door this year," said Scott Steiger, manager of the Best Buy store in Tyler.
There are just 26 shopping days left, and judging by initial reports, retailers can expect this year to be a very Merry Christmas. One-hundred-forty-five-million Americans spent nearly $28 billion during the post-holiday shopping weekend. That's an average of $302.81 each. Retailers offering giveaways and deep discounts reeled in customers looking to get a good deal. "The earlier they shop, the more money they save. And I think the customers are smart enough to realize that," Steiger said.
Many Americans are using plastic this year instead of the green stuff. Visa reports 27 million credit and debit card transactions added up to nearly $1.4 billion. That's a 12% increase from last year. And that was just on Friday.
Customers we spoke with said a number of factors could have led to the increase in people saying "charge it." "Stuff is very expensive, and to be able to have it, you have to spend more on the credit cards," said Todd Matlock. For Shirley Snowden, credit cards are just a convenience. "It's a lot easier to do it, and not have to fool with writing a check for everything," she said. When asked about the increase in credit card use, Tara Croft hit the nail on the head. "Cause their shopping online probably."
The research firm eMarketers is forecasting a 22% increase in online sales this year. It seems the internet is the most likely reason for the sharp increase in credit card transaction. With one quick trip into cyberspace you can find just about anything on your loved one's wish list. But when you're ready to check out, you'll need your debit or credit card in hand. No cash accepted here.