Online Black Friday Sales Reach $1 Billion

December 16, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. consumer (n.) [kuh n-soo-mer] – someone who buys things or services
Example: The shop ran out of the new product because the consumers bought so many.

2. discount (n.) [dis-kount, dis-kount] – an amount lower than the usual or original 
Example: Products on discount are usually sold during holidays.

3. retailer (n.) [ree-tey-ler] – one who sells products to customers
Example: The online retailer offered imported cosmetics to its female customers.

4. brick-and-mortar (expr.) [brik-uh n-mawr-ter] – relating to a traditional type of business which deals with its customers face to face or in an actual building and not through the internet
ExampleBrick-and-mortar bookstores have difficulty competing with online bookstores.

5. cautious (adj.) [kaw-shuh s] – showing carefulness or control, lacking in trust
Example: Some shoppers are still cautious about using their credit cards to buy products online.

Read the text below.

US Online sales on Black Friday reached a record-breaking $1 billion dollars this year as more consumers shopped online for products on discount.

Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, is the busiest shopping day of the year. Americans consider Black Friday the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The day was named “Black Friday” because on this particular Friday, retailers’ financial records turn from red (debt) to black (profit). In financial record books, red ink is used to indicate debt, while black ink is used to indicate profit.

Brick-and-mortar stores, on the other hand, seem to have experienced a decrease of about 1.8% in sales on Black Friday.

Stores that opened on Thanksgiving day itself seem to have earned the most profit. The National Retail Federation (NRF) revealed a 40% increase in sales compared to last year because 35 million people visited the shops this Thanksgiving.

Online retailers also look forward to the Monday after Black Friday, which is called Cyber Monday. On Cyber Monday, large discounts are offered to online shoppers.

Overall, American shoppers spent $59.1 billion dollars over the four-day holiday, which started on Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving day) and ended on Sunday, November 25. Each consumer spent an average of $423.

Although the numbers show a 13% increase in spending compared to last year, the NRF says consumers are still cautious about spending because people remain worried about the economy.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What is the busiest day or time of the year for shoppers and retailers in your country or your area? When do shops give the biggest discounts?
·         Do you feel like buying more things when there are big discounts? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think that online shopping is better than shopping in a physical store? Why or why not?
·         Tell me about something you bought on discount (in either a physical store or online store) that you think was a great deal.


December 16, 2012