Black Friday becomes an ever more popular event with early Christmas shoppers each year, especially during the last decade.
Americans traditionally venture out from their homes in vast numbers on this day, to trample over each other in jam-packed stores just to save $20 on a Crock-Pot or an electric razor. The number of injures, both serious and life threatening, not counting those caused by traffic accidents, reaches new heights each year.
The internet is changing the dynamics of holiday shopping all over the world, also affecting Black Friday. The problem for merchants is discount rates. Brick-and-mortar stores take in a great deal of cash, but online merchants get stuck accepting bank plastic, which comes with a fee. This problem opens a wide door for merchants to expand their payment options to include Bitcoin Black Friday, the brainchild of Jon Holmquist.
Holmquist spoke with Cointelegraph about the results of Bitcoin Black Friday so far, as compared with previous years:
Cointelegraph: Jon, your event has been growing each year since its beginnings three years ago. How many merchants participated last year, and how were their sales numbers?
Jon Holmquist: In 2013, we had about 600 merchants listed by the end of the day and over US$6 million processed.
Cointelegraph: How much have those numbers increased or decreased in 2014?
JH: We've had a lot more submissions this year, around 800. We've been very heavy on the moderation, though, so currently listed, we have about 550.
Cointelegraph: What kind of customer and merchant feedback have you been receiving on the website?
Cointelegraph: Have your merchants been receiving positive or negative feedback from customers and, if so, can you give examples?
JH: We've had a lot of consumers excited to do shopping. Some members of the community have spent several thousand dollars' worth of bitcoins on their orders. I've personally ordered from about 10 different merchants today!
Cointelegraph: Have any of your merchants been receiving negative talk from their banks?
JH: Not that I've heard!
Cointelegraph: How many international merchants and customers are getting involved, and has this number been growing?
JH: We had a lot more international merchants this year. Hopefully, next year we can work with a processor like Safello and build out a European Black Friday. However, [people] tend to do more shopping after Christmas is over, so maybe a separate event is in order. More news on that later.
The numbers are still coming in and totals will probably continue to grow over the next 24 hours. The levels of participation are increasing each year, as people discover they can save money on Christmas shopping by using Bitcoin, and merchants discover that each Bitcoin transaction accepted by them comes without discount rates.
A few participating merchants include:
Tax Master, offering free consultation concerning Bitcoin and taxes on Black Friday.
Bees Brothers, a family-run honey business in Utah offering 20% off when you use Bitcoin on November 28 and 29.
Reeds Jewelers, offering 15% off and free shipping on Black Friday, and 25% off of orders totaling $150 or more.
MixedTees is offering up to 75% off on all purchases until December 1.
Reddit is offering 25% off of purchases of Reddit Gold when you buy with Bitcoin.
NewEgg is offering mega deals on Black Friday for Bitcoin users.
A number of charities, both Bitcoin related and non-Bitcoin related, are also accepting Bitcoin donations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the NAJA Foundation, which looks after children worldwide, and Greenpeace.