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Google Data Confirms a Bunch of Things You Already Knew About Black Friday

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Shoppers hit the streets on Black Friday Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty Images

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If you need some non-partisan conversation starters this Thanksgiving, Google just released a few data points focused around Thanksgiving week, Black Friday, and holiday shopping habits in general (and bringing any of them up will probably go over better than anything Trump- or Hillary-related). Most of the info confirms longstanding hunches you may have held about how your mom, your brother, and America at large shops.

Women shop early, while men wait until the last minute. You know that thing when you dad, boyfriend, or little brother suddenly has to “go run an errand” on Christmas Eve and you’re almost positive they are buying your gift? The mobile data backs it up too; more than twice as many women shop Thanksgiving week, while men complete more online purchases the week of Christmas.

New Englanders love a deal. As someone from New Hampshire, I’ve known this to be true my whole life: Shoppers in New England are practical and frugal above all else. Google data confirms this: Apparently, New Englanders hit the web in search of deals a full hour before the rest of the country (and NH residents in particular search for product-related deals).

Most people don’t bother with “door busters.” The morning news footage of shoppers camping outside Best Buy might beg to differ, but foot traffic peaks between noon and 4 p.m. on Black Friday, rather than early morning.

Black Friday foot traffic is slipping. While the Google report stresses “door-to-store” mobile usage (looking something up on your phone before heading to the store IRL) and the fact that online searches start before stores open on Thanksgiving Day, it doesn’t hit on another hunch I’ve held for awhile — Black Friday isn’t such a big deal anymore.

But a similar report released by Foursquare does. Based on data from last year as well as shopping patterns leading up to this week, the location intelligence company predicts a 3.5 percent dip in foot traffic from last year. (Because with most sales already up and running, people are shopping online and in stores all week.)


Watch: Buyer beware at outlet stores