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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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Google withdraws YouTube app from Amazon Fire TV

Google hasn’t been happy about Amazon’s anti-competitive nature when it comes to allowing rivals to sell their own hardware items – like smart speakers and media players – on Amazon.com.

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The Google Cloud Platform will help in the growth of enterprises in India. Wikimedia Commons
The Google Cloud Platform will help in the growth of enterprises in India. Wikimedia Commons
  • A disagreement between both the companies fires up their rivalry.
  • Although Amazon is working fine with Apple TV, The disagreements with Google are not seeming to end.
  • This rivalry has made Roku, the biggest streaming service in the U.S.A.

The feud between Amazon and Google continues today with the early removal of YouTube from the Fire TV – a move Google had said wouldn’t take place until January 1, 2018. But as a number of Fire TV owners have now noticed, launching the YouTube app today informs you that you can choose to watch “YouTube and millions of other websites” by using a web browser. You then have the option to choose from Amazon’s own Silk browser or Firefox, with a click of a button.

Amazon's rivalry with Google intensified . Wikimedia
Amazon’s rivalry with Google intensified. Wikimedia

The disagreements between the companies that led to this consumer-unfriendly stance go back several years.

Google hasn’t been happy about Amazon’s anti-competitive nature when it comes to allowing rivals to sell their own hardware items – like smart speakers and media players – on Amazon.com. The retailer has long refused to stock devices that competed with its own – like Apple TV, Chromecast, Google Home, and others – in an effort to promote Amazon products like Echo speakers and Fire TV.

However, Amazon and Apple recently negotiated an agreement that brought the Apple TV back to Amazon and Amazon’s Prime Video app to Apple TV.

Meanwhile, it seemed discussions between Amazon and Google were improving earlier this month when the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra reappeared on Amazon.com. (They’re still showing as “currently unavailable,” however.)

The other issue at hand was that Amazon had launched its own version of Google’s YouTube player for its Echo Show device, without working with Google to ensure core features were accessible. There’s been quite a bit of back and forth on this matter, with Google pulling that player, only to have Amazon surreptitiously work around the block by implementing a web version of YouTube instead.

That led Google this month to declare that it would pull YouTube entirely from Amazon’s hardware lineup, including Fire TV. The player was yanked immediately from Echo Show, but Fire TV owners were told that the app would work until January 1, 2018.

It would be unusual for Google to actually pull the YouTube app ahead of its deadline, which indicates this change – to point YouTube users to web browsers instead – may have come from Amazon’s side.

That theory is further backed up by the fact that sideloading the YouTube app onto Fire TV will continue to display the “warning” message, according to a report from AFTVNews.com and commenters on Reddit.

However, it’s unclear if Amazon’s choice to redirect YouTube users to web browsers ahead of schedule is fully rolled out. One report from Cord Cutter News said you’ll only see the browser choice screen if you have a browser installed on your Fire TV, for example. (Update: a recompilation of the app’s code, though, indicates the app has been changed to only point to the web browser – no matter if you have one installed or not.)

Amazon Fire TV Logo. Wikimedia Common
Amazon Fire TV Logo. Wikimedia Common

On two Fire TV devices we have here (a prior generation and new generation player), we’re only seeing the browser choice screen as of today. And many users worldwide are reporting the same, per Twitter.

We’ve reached out to Amazon and Google for comment. Google has not responded, but a rep from Amazon offered the following statement:

“I can confirm that YouTube and millions of other websites are accessible by using a web browser like Firefox or Silk on Fire TV.”

With all this drama, is it any wonder that Roku is the top streaming device in the U.S.?

Consumers don’t want to be jerked around like this all because two competitors can’t work out a reasonable solution that serves both their interests. At the end of the day, Amazon and Google only hurting themselves by alienating their overlapping customer base – a group that easily could (and probably should) switch to Roku at this point. IANS