Black Friday Mathematics
I thought I’d do a little analytic research on Black Friday spending, so I punched up Wolfram Alpha to see what it could tell me.
Although W|A doesn’t seem to have economic data tied to the specific date, it shows that retail spending in the U.S. is about $386 billion per month, or around $13 billion per day.
A report from Businessweek claims that about $20 billion was spent last year on Black Friday. This suggests that around $7 billion more is being spent today!
The increase may be even greater. In its data, Wolfram Alpha includes spending in some categories (motor vehicle and parts dealers–$65.68 billion per month; food and beverage stores–$51.65 billion per month) that might not be counted as “holiday spending.” There may be a more targeted metric for measuring the success of Black Friday; researching, or creating, this measure could be a fun little project.
One nice little feature from Wolfram Alpha was the graph of consumer spending. At the end of each calendar year, there is a sudden spike followed by a steep drop. It’s not too hard to tell the accompanying story for that data!