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Online Sales rise on Black Friday, with Amazon offering Steepest Discounts among E-Commerce Sites

Online shopping continued to grow, with Adobe saying that Black Friday was on track to set a new record by surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time

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Washington, Nov 26, 2016: US online sales surged on Black Friday, with Amazon.com Inc offering the steepest discounts among e-commerce sites as it set the agenda for what has traditionally been the biggest shopping day of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers.

Though in-store customer traffic picked up in the afternoon, it paled in comparison to the jump in online sales, NBC news cited analysts as saying.

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Macy’s Inc’s website crashed as it saw heavy traffic on Friday. It had to delay customers from entering the site at three different times.

Online sales on Friday hit $1.70 billion as of 3 p.m., according to Adobe Digital Index, after reaching $1.13 billion on Thursday, up almost 14 percent from a year ago.

The National Retail Federation expects total sales this holiday season to increase by 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion, mainly due to the rise in online shopping.

This weekend’s shopping could reflect signs of faster economic growth in the fourth quarter this year.

Administrative assistant Kelsey Gilford, 52, was shopping at Chicago’s Water Tower mall on Friday but had already made purchases online on Thursday.

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“I looked at some online deals on J.C. Penney which were good. I bought a small kitchen appliance yesterday (Thursday),” she said.

Amazon.com Inc offered a 42 percent off, compared with 33 per cent off at Walmart, 35 per cent at Target and 36 percent at Best Buy.

Amazon said Black Friday would surpass last year in terms of the number of items ordered on its website. The Seattle-based company declined to provide specifics.

Online shopping continued to grow, with Adobe saying that Black Friday was on track to set a new record by surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time.

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It is also expected to become the first day in US retail history to drive over a billion dollars from mobile sales.

Mobile accounted for 40 per cent of sales, with 29 per cent from smartphones, and 11 per cent for tablets.

Combined with Thursday’s $1.93 in online sales on Thanksgiving, the two days are expected to close out at nearly $5 billion in sales.

Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director, Adobe Digital Insights, said: “We expect Cyber Monday to surpass Black Friday and become the largest online sales day in history with $3.36 Billion.”

Meanwhile, UK shoppers also rushed to buy Black Friday bargains, as retailers and payment firms reported strong sales.

Barclaycard said it had seen a record number of transactions on Friday, while Argos, John Lewis and Currys PC World reported a surge in orders, BBC reported.

In the UK, analysts expect sales on Friday to have topped last year’s 1.9 billion pound, with people hunting for discounts ahead of an expected rise in prices next year.

“The Black Friday promotions at the end of November are the start of a longer, more drawn-out peak season, which begins with most of the activity online and then moves in-store as we get closer and closer to Christmas day,” said Richard Jenkings, data analyst at credit reference agency Experian. (IANS)

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Facebook clarifies how it collects data when you’re logged out

Facebook is embroiled in a widening scandal that a British data firm called Cambridge Analytica improperly gathered detailed information on its 87 million users

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Facebook was accused of leaking data to Cambridge Analytica earlier this year.

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress last week, the company on Tuesday tried to clarify on questions how it collects data when people are not directly using the website or app.

Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant.

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The social media app is in news for all the wrong reasons lately. VOA

“Apps and websites that use our services, such as the Like button or Facebook Analytics, send us information to make their content and ads better,” David Baser, Product Management Director at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

In return for that information, Facebook helps those websites serve up relevant ads or receive analytics that help them understand how people use their services.

“When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook,” Baser added.

Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them.

“Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all have similar Like and Share buttons to help people share things on their services. Google has a popular analytics service. And Amazon, Google and Twitter all offer login features,” Facebook said.

These companies — and many others — also offer advertising services. When you visit a website, your browser (for example Chrome, Safari or Firefox) sends a request to the site’s server. The browser shares your IP address so the website knows where on the Internet to send the site content.

The website also gets information about the browser and operating system (for example Android or Windows) you’re using because not all browsers and devices support the same features.

Also Read: Google Home To Be Your Best Friend Now

“It also gets cookies, which are identifiers that websites use to know if you’ve visited before. This can help with things like saving items in your shopping cart,” Facebook explained. “So when a website uses one of our services, your browser sends the same kind of information to Facebook as the website receives. We also get information about which website or app you’re using, which is necessary to know when to provide our tools,” Baser noted.

There are three main ways in which Facebook uses the information it gets from other websites and apps.

“Providing our services to these sites or apps; improving safety and security on Facebook; and enhancing our own products and services,” Baser said.

“We also use the information we receive from websites and apps to help protect the security of Facebook. For example, receiving data about the sites a particular browser has visited can help us identify bad actors,” he posted.

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook needs to fix itself. Pixabay

Zuckerberg, appearing before the US Congress last week, told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of 87 million users’ that was “improperly shared” with British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

“We don’t sell the data. We use the data that people put into the system in order to make them more relevant. I believe people own their content,” he told the US Congress.

Facebook is embroiled in a widening scandal that a British data firm called Cambridge Analytica improperly gathered detailed information on its 87 million users. IANS