Online shopping powered Black Friday

And hundreds of Walmart workers walked out

Topics: Apple, Consumerism, iPad, Black Friday, Walmart, amazon, ,

Black Friday’s online sales jumped 21% over last year, the Financial Times reported. Shopping on mobile gadgets also increased, with purchases made on Apple’s iPad tablets accounting for 10% of online sales.

The increasing importance of internet retail appears to be coming at the expense of traditional brick and mortar stores which saw Black Friday sales drop slightly, to $11.2 billion.

The online shopping surge arrived even before tomorrow’s “cyber Monday” event when consumers can supposedly access numerous online bargains. However, the decision by online retail behemoth Amazon to offer comparable bargains throughout last week may cut into cyber Monday grosses and relevance.

In recent years, Black Friday sales have created near riots and even fatalities as shoppers crushed into big box stores. This year the frenzy was relatively subdued though there was a hectic scene outside a Victoria’s Secret in Kansas City, Mo.

Shopping at home is probably safer. However, it might also minimize the visibility and impact of worker strikes. This Black Friday witnessed a protest against Walmart for a variety of work related issues such as poor pay and benefits.

In The Nation, Josh Eidelson wrote:



For about twenty-four hours, Walmart workers, union members and a slew of other activists pulled off the largest-ever US strike against the largest employer in the world. According to organizers, strikes hit a hundred US cities, with hundreds of retail workers walking off the job (last month‘s strikes drew 160). Organizers say they also hit their goal of a thousand total protests, with all but four states holding at least one. In the process, they notched a further escalation against the corporation that’s done more than any other to frustrate the ambitions and undermine the achievements of organized labor in the United States.

As the beginning of the holiday rush, Black Friday is by far the most closely watched shopping day of the year. However the Times reported that sales on the one day are not necessarily correlated to performance throughout the Christmas season.

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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