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NPD: Apps, Websites Impact Black Friday Sales

26 Nov, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

More shoppers used smartphone and Internet websites to locate the best retail and ecommerce deals on Black Friday than ever before, according to The NPD Group. More 21% of smartphone users (primarily men) used their devices to compare prices on apps and 40% used (primarily women) websites during the day.

The trend underscores an ongoing concern among big-box retailers to compete against e-commerce and other discounters that increasingly make the final sale of consumer electronics and packaged media to consumers who first perused showrooms at Best Buy, for example.

The top-used app was Amazon (10% of Android users, 12% of iPhone), with eBay coming in second with an average reach of 7% of the base (again, skewing slightly higher for iPhone users). The results indicate that e-commerce’s “Day of Deals” continues to drive increased price-comparison shopping beyond the physical store, putting further pressure on the retailers.

For example, Amazon — via its Android price app — says it is offering The Dark Knight Trilogy on Blu-ray and DVD for $29.96 and $19.96, respectively. The $52.99/$39.99 SRP box sets include all of Christopher Nolan’s "Batman" movies starring Christian Bale, including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and forthcoming The Dark Knight Rises, which streets Dec. 4 for $35.99 on Blu-ray (plus DVD and UltraViolet) and $28.98 DVD (plus digital copy).

The pricing is confirmed after visiting Amazon.com — underscoring the Internet’s overall go-to destination among Black Friday shoppers.

Website reach (percentage of users accessing) was almost twice app use, with 39.5% of Android users accessing shopping sites, according to NPD. Amazon again dominated the category with 13% reach, while Walmart (6.3%), Best Buy (2.5%), Target (2.2%) and GameStop (2%) trailed slightly.

Walmart, Best Buy and Target have said they will match competitors’ online pricing through the holidays — with some including next-day shipping.
An analysis of the time of day activity shows a significant drop in activity during the peak shopping period of midnight to 4 a.m. This suggests that the pricing tools are used less by the hardcore shoppers who lined up.

“These shoppers typically already know what they are looking for, based on the well-publicized deals,” Eddie Hold, VP of NPD connected intelligence, wrote in a blog post. “However, once the initial grab-and-buy period slows, the smartphones come out to support a more paced shopping experience.”

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