Thanks largely to the faltering economy, sales of consumer electronics at brick-and-mortar stores on the week of Black Friday dropped year-over-year for the first time ever, according to figures released Tuesday by NPD Group.
According to the numbers, sales in 2008 were $2.03 billion, a drop of 8.4 percent from the 2007 figure. The number was also below that of 2006, but did overtake 2005’s.
NPD attributed the decline to the economy, to a lower level of discounting this year than most, to a greater emphasis on online sales, and to the troubles with Circuit City and Tweeter.
“While a weakening economy and overall changes to the consumer technology industry had an impact on Black Friday sales, what we saw is most likely not a one-time reaction to circumstances, but rather the beginning of a change in the overall concept of Black Friday,” NPD’s vice president of industry analysis, Stephen Baker, said a part of the release. “This year there were no blowout sales to attract consumers. Instead of being a kick-off to the holiday season, the deals mimicked a typical weekend sale, not what consumers have been used to in prior years. As consumers’ shopping options grow, Black Friday may become less of a barometer for the holiday shopping season and more of a showcase of retailers’ holiday intentions.”