GRBJ: Nothing normal about Black Friday chaos

(Grand Rapids Business Journal) -- Robert Harrison is actually something of an expert on the single most chaotic shopping day of the year.

The associate professor of marketing at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business has spent approximately nine years collecting data from roughly 20 states across the country, examining and identifying consumer behavior during the retail industry's biggest door-buster sale of the year over the Thanksgiving weekend.

"I have a lot of different academic papers that have stemmed from this," he said. "I have one that looks at Black Friday from the consumer side, which I am doing with a professor at Michigan, and the retail side, also done with Dr. David Wooten in Ann Arbor. We are interested in both sides."

The National Retail Federation released a survey Dec. 1, 2013, stating the traffic on Thanksgiving Day reached 45 million shoppers in 2013, up 27 percent from 35 million in 2012, while the number of consumers shopping on Black Friday was approximately 92 million.

The study was conducted by Proper Insights & Analytics for NRF between Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, surveying 4,464 consumers.

In the Midwest Region, the average amount spent over the holiday weekend was $370.16 per person; estimated spending in the country reached $57.4 billion.

Harrison said retail managers typically have a plan for Black Friday, but extreme consumer behavior often overrules the best of intentions.

You can read the entire article at the website of our partner, the Grand Rapids Business Journal, or pick up this week's edition of the Business Journal on your newsstand.


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