News & Politics

Despite NPR Prediction, Monster Black Friday Underway

Despite NPR Prediction, Monster Black Friday Underway
(Gunnar Rathbun/AP Images for Walmart)

Just this morning, I was tooling around my little rural village, listening to the dulcet, if whiny and mocking, tones of the Upper West Side’s very own personal radio station, NPR, and was told by various experts that this Christmas retail season would be “meh” — even though the miracle of the Obama economy had presented us with lower unemployment, wage growth, etc. — all because the election of Donald Trump had introduced great “uncertainty” and anguish into the body politic. Oops:

Shoppers lined up at stores and flocked to their computer screens across the nation starting before dawn in search of bargains on Black Friday, putting the retail industry on track for what it hopes will be come a record sales weekend.

Shoppers were buoyed by a generally strong economy, helped by a rising stock market. And major store chains were offering dramatic discounts on their traffic-building “doorbuster” opening specials.

As a result, shopping center operator JLL says 73% of the 15 of its malls surveyed were reporting sales that were equal to or better than last year. And online sales looked even more vigorous, with Adobe Digital Insights forecasting that Black Friday sales online will surpass $3 billion for the first time ever, hitting $3.05 billion in online revenue, up 11.3% over last year.

Sales generated from smartphones and other mobile devices alone will top $1 billion for the first time. Walmart and Target said 60% of their online orders came from mobile.

That “rising stock market” has hit record highs since the Nov. 8 election, by the way.

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey comments:

Why the big jump in this year’s Black Friday, assuming it materializes as expected? USA Today’s credit of “a generally strong economy” doesn’t entirely fit the current economic data.  It’s true that the BEA reported a boost in growth for Q3 a month ago, but only to 2.9%. If that advance estimate holds, it will be the first quarter in over a year to exceed 2% annualized growth, and the previous three quarters finished far below the mark — 1.4%, 0.8%, and 0.9%, respectively in reverse. And consumer optimism retreated by a significant amount in Q3, with personal consumption expenditures only growing by 2.1% after jumping 4.3% in Q2.

Last year’s Black Friday came in the middle of a decline, but economic conditions were actually better in the two previous years that today’s sales seem ready to beat… This renewed consumer optimism might well be an expression of relief at the end of a bitter electoral cycle. It could also be exuberance at the change of economic direction that the election results appear to signify. It’s not an expression of a “strong economy” at the moment, but perhaps more of hope of a stronger economy in the near future.

Anyone else get the sense of gigantic relief flooding across the land that Hillary Clinton is not our president? That the Democrats have been sent packing across all levels of government? That maybe, just maybe, America really can be great again?

Shop til you drop.