Jeff  Carter

Perusing the published statistics from Black Friday:

Online sales were up 20%. America is getting more comfortable with shopping online and having things delivered. Maybe it’s because we are so fat now. 17% of all online shoppers came from mobile devices. Heck, here is even a website devoted to publishing current sales.

The brick and mortar stores opened even earlier than ever. Some even on the evening of Thanksgiving. How long before they just stay open 24/7? Even though I think it’s nuts to wait in line at a store to spend money, it doesn’t matter. Crowds of shoppers hit the stores. There is some statistical evidence it benefits the business,

The National Retail Federation said Friday morning that the earlier opening appears to have benefitted both consumers and merchants, based on preliminary data.

“Early morning openings appear to have been well worth it for both retailers and holiday shoppers, with many Americans believing that deals were too good to pass up regardless of who they were shopping for — themselves or others,” said Matthew Shay, the federation’s president and chief executive.

This whole push/pull between stores and the internet is an interesting phenomena to watch. It kind of reminds me of the push/pull between electronic trading and open outcry pit trading. In the 1990's, the CBOT answer to round the clock trading was to schedule night Bond sessions ($ZB_F). Guys would come in and trade a few hours in the evening. The idea was to keep volume that might be traded overseas here in Chicago. Of course, eventually electronic trading killed all the futures pits.

But it seems like retail stores are following the same path, stay open longer to fight online sales. It takes less manpower and costs less to man a website. The store is always on, similar to GLOBEX vs an open outcry exchange. How soon before you can get a computerized shopping program that surfs the entire internet for you to find the cheapest price? High Frequency Shopping programs!

Jeff Carter

Jeffrey Carter is an independent speculator. He has been trading since 1988. His blog site, Points and Figures was named by Minyanville as one of The 20 Most Influential Blogs in Financial Media.