Black Friday Brawling Goes Digital

Black Friday banner in a mobile phone that is in the hand of woman at home.
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The days of the big Black Friday brawls may be behind us. But customers are still jostling each other out of the way in search of bargains.

The difference is that now they are doing it online.

Surging traffic slowed or brought down the online stores of several big retailers, according to CNBC.

Despite the slowdowns, digital shoppers have set a new record for Thanksgiving spending. Consumers spent around $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving, 14.5 percent more than last year and the highest on record. That beats the National Retail Federation’s forecast for 11 percent to 14 percent growth.

CNBC reported that Costco’s website went down entirely for a period of time early on Thanksgiving Day.

“The website is currently experiencing longer than normal response times. Please note that all Thanksgiving Day-only promotions have been extended into Friday November 29th, WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. We apologize for any inconvenience,” a banner atop the site said on Friday morning.

Website problems were also reported for apparel retailer H&M and Home Depot. There were complaints on social media about slowness at Target and Walmart’s webiste but as of 10 A.M. both websites seemed the be working well.

Online stores can be overwhelmed when too many would-be customers attempt to access them at once. It’s the digital equivalent of customers tripping over each other to rush into a store’s doors or even an instore punch-up over a much coveted item. Fortunately, no one actually suffers a black-eye or worse physical injury when customers battle each other digitally.

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