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Black Friday Sales May Be Up, but More People Shopping Later in Day

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - Some early data indicates Black Friday sales are up, compared to 2015, in debit card transactions - but these sales aren't performing in ways you might expect.

According to data from SHAZAM, a debit network with more than 13 million debit cards on the street across the country, sales are up, but are happening later in the day, compared to 2015.

"What we're not seeing, though, and what you might expect that we would see is a lot of overnight transactions," said Patrick Dix, vice president of public relations with SHAZAM. "But that midnight to 6 a.m. block - it was kind of a steady increase. Up until 6 a.m. But not a huge number. And really, we started to see an increase when you would expect people to get up normally, and get moving on a day like today. And those transactions have kind of climbed all the way through the noon hour."

SHAZAM's data from midnight to 6 a.m this Black Friday indicates nearly 10,000 more debit card transactions than in 2015. Between 6 a.m. and noon, that number was around 75,000 more than last year. But consumers aren't spending much money; on average, at the check-out, a consumer spent around $30 between midnight and 6 a.m. Between 6 a.m. and noon, they spent even less on average, at around $20.

Some Central Iowa shoppers say those trends sound right.

"We've gone out, I think, a few years ago, I went out after Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday night. Just to go see about the good deals, but I don't know - you know, it's just not important, we'd rather be with our family on Thursdays," said Morgan Carmen of Winterset.

"I used to go on Thanksgiving night," said Susie McCullough of Boone, who shopped with her friend, Amanda Johnson of Ames, Friday. "And I just got sick of fighting the crowds, so I called her and said, 'Do you want to go this morning at 10?'"

"I didn't go until I was probably married - Black Friday shopping.," Johnson said. "And I went a couple of times, did the crazy all-nighter stuff, and once kids came into the picture, that wasn't going to happen anymore. I like to sleep, so we came later."

Some shoppers cited a shift in culture across the country regarding Black Friday, with both people and stores valuing more time at home on Thanksgiving, rather than waiting in lines the night before Black Friday. SHAZAM says it's actually a misconception that Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year; according to its data, that award would be given to Mother's Day.

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