Black Friday: Store Sales Down; Internet Sales Surging

Shoppers spent $10.4 billion at stores on Friday. While that may seem like a large number in and of itself, it's a rather tepid showing when you compare it to sales generated a year earlier. In 2014, consumers forked over a more impressive $11.6 billion.

Moreover, store sales on Thanksgiving this year fell from just over $2 billion to $1.8 billion.

So what's to blame for the drops, exactly?

As you can probably predict, consumer behaviorists point to online sales, which jumped 14 percent on Black Friday from 2014. All told, consumers who took to the web for their purchases spent $2.72 billion. Not too shabby, right?

And we haven't even gotten to Cyber Monday (Nov. 30), which is hands down the busiest e-commerce day of the year.

Perhaps this suggests that people are getting tired of braving the crowds (and the elements) to snag a good sale in person. Reports of people camping out in stores and trampling over others to grab everything from TVs to denim jeans has likely deterred many from entering the fray.

The convenience of the internet can't be overstated. There's nothing like being able to purchase something at the click of a button without having to leave your house. Online shopping saves consumers time and spares them the hassle of dealing with pushy salespeople and grumpy shoppers.

Though brick and mortar stores have lost their appeal somewhat among the time-pressed and internet-savvy, I doubt we'll ever have an exclusively internet-driven marketplace. Going to the stores in person and having the opportunity to size up products before shelling out money on them is an integral part of the buying experience for many consumers.

Personally, I wouldn't buy a big-ticket item -- say, a car, engagement ring, or 60-inch television -- without scoping it out with my own two eyes first. I wouldn't feel comfortable spending a pretty penny on something without seeing and touching it first. At the store, you also have the ability to ask a salesperson for assistance should you have any questions.

Interestingly, many shoppers visit stores to see the hottest products to hit the market, but ultimately buy them online, where many claim to find better deals.

Do you prefer to shop online or in person? Did you do any shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday? Do you plan to take advantage of any Cyber Monday specials?

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