Even as the crowds grew to record size, gunfire, and one epic fight over waffle irons, people still ventured out to their local shopping malls and opened their wallets this Black Friday. With overall spending numbers up over 6%, Black Friday 2011 can be hailed as the best ever. The money spent on discounted items could help a recent Rasmussen Poll, in which 62% of respondents claimed they would be spending less on gifts this year-meaning taking advantage of the sales could have been priority number one for consumers. The positive sales numbers come at a time of high tension, as consumer sentiment is near lows, and unemployment remains high at 9%. Metrics aside, it was a bang-up day for retailers, and a great day for my “Black Friday” archive, which harvested over 35,000 Tweets, adding to the already massive 250,000 Tweet archive.
Taking a sample of 2,000 Tweets from Black Friday, I wanted to find out what people were saying about the most anticipated shopping day of the year. While the majority of Tweets referenced the shopping deals, there was an interesting battle which loomed below the surface. In the Twittersphere, there is a clear divide between those who chose to shop, and those who did not. People who did not venture out seem to be nearly as vocal as those who did. In many ways, it begins to look much like a class battle when one looks deeper into the Tweets. Many of the jokes took a hostile jab at people willing to stand in the long lines, wake up early, and bare the crowds. There are a fair amount of Tweets which directly reference shoppers as “crazy” and “insane.” Wal-Mart and Target are singled out as low end stores, just discounting there “mediocre” goods. One Tweet even went so far as to say, “Black Friday is the Special Olympics of Capitalism.”
Regardless of the divide, the numbers are strong. Nobody can deny this year was a success for retailers, who in one day handled 54 billion dollars worth of transactions. However, there are still 4 busy shopping weeks until Christmas. Check back to the Texifter Blog next week to see if the positive sentiment and willing shoppers are still eagerly out spending money.