December 1 2009|07.00 PM UTC

Angelica Nierras

Thanksgiving Weekend: Deals, Steals, and … Zhu Zhu Pets?

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Shopping DayBetween Black Friday and Cyber Monday, American consumers dropped an estimated $41.2 billion on electronics, clothes, toys, and appliances. While the numbers are still rolling in, the existing data offers some interesting conclusions.

As The New York Times reported, more people hit the stores this weekend when compared to last year, but the average spending per person this year was $343.31 per person, down from $372.57 last year. Total spending clocked in at $41.2 billion, which is roughly the same as last year.

Bottom line: people are still hanging on to their hard-earned cash. That’s actually good news for those of us who stayed at home, because it means we can expect to see deals throughout the holiday shopping season as retailers work to keep consumers spending. Major retailers like Target, Walmart, Amazon, Macy’s, and Kohl’s will continue dropping prices throughout the holiday season. In an effort to maintain shopper interest, most are pushing “a deal a day” type specials that encourage shoppers to visit both websites and brick-and-mortar stores.

According to the National Retail Federation and eMarketer, online spending is projected to increase 5.4% this year, while offline shopping is expected to dip by 1%. In absolute numbers, however, offline shopping still dominates. Consumers are projected to spend about $30 billion online and about $438 billion offline.

Lastly, while most Thanksgiving shopping weekends are marked by the constant demand for televisions, laptops, other electronic gadgets, each year may be correctly identified by a crazy fad. Remember Beanie Babies? Tickle-Me-Elmos? This year, meet the Zhu Zhu Pet.

Originally retailing at $8 – $10, these little toy hamsters rapidly sold out on Black Friday and are now available only online to the tune of $40 – $50. The shortage is clearly caused by Christmas demand, so those of us here at BillShrink have some firm advice for would be Zhu Zhu owners: wait. Demand will be down by February and prices will be more normal. (And if you really, really can’t wait, bid strategically on eBay.)

Happy holidays!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tara Roberts December 2, 2009 at 11:06 am

There is another strategy to save cash. Use a site like to avoid paying those inflated prices.


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