Briefing

Online Black Friday sales poised to surpass record US$7 billion in the U.S.

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Fewer shoppers lined up for the massive sales event this year, but consumers are still spending more than ever this Black Friday. In the U.S., shoppers spent US$4.2 billion online on Thursday, 14.5 per cent more than in 2018 and global sales reached US$20 billion, up 24 per cent. Friday online sales are poised to reach US$7.5 billion in the U.S., besting last year’s record by 20.5 per cent. (CNBC, Reuters)

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Talking point: The data reflects a shift in consumer and retailer behaviour, from brick-and-mortar stores to online. Big-box stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy are increasingly focused on boosting their online inventory and streamlining delivery and in-store pickup services to capture growth in online sales. That’s placed more pressure on workers at distribution centres. On Friday, Amazon workers in Germany staged walkouts, demanding better pay and working conditions. The uptick in buying has also attracted climate change protesters to boycott what they call a celebration of consumerism that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.