Happy Holidays! Chicago Shoppers Will Get More Than They Bargained for this Black Friday

Frigid weather and commuting costs are added to the hassles of Black Friday in the Chicago area

Nov 15, 2012, 10:00 ET from Rakuten Buy.com

CHICAGO, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Research from ecommerce marketplace, Rakuten's Buy.com, predicts that Chicagoans will face icy winds and frigid temperatures if they are braving the stores this Black Friday. With temperatures expected to reach lows of 20F—nearly a 40 degree drop from last year's high of 57F—the weather will be a short, sharp shock to shoppers expecting a repeat of last year's mild weather. Deal-hunters standing on line on Friday night should plan ahead with the thickest of jackets, scarves and gloves.

On top of the cold, many Chicago-based shoppers will waste precious time and money commuting to stores. Last year, TomTom put together a list of the top 10 shopping centers in the country where drivers endured the heaviest traffic during the Black Friday weekend. Three of the ten malls were in the Chicago area: Woodfield Mall, Gurnee Mills and Oakbrook Shopping Center. And with the rising costs of fuel, a trip to the shopping center will likely cost more than the discounts shoppers are vying for.

Adding to these obstacles facing shoppers this year is the rising trend in shopping-related violence and injuries that have begun to characterize the traditional shopping extravaganza. Last year the Pink by Victoria Secrets store at the Orland Square Mall, which opened its doors at 4am, had to close on Friday morning for 2 hours after people and merchandise alike were knocked to the ground, during what police called a "mass push of bodies." And with the expected increase in the number of shoppers this Black Friday, the number of violent incidents will likely rise as well.

Bernard Luthi, COO and CMO at Rakuten's Buy.com commented: "The average American gets 14 vacation days per year, fewer than most of the industrialized world. It's remarkable that Chicagoans are willing to brave the cold temperatures, traffic and throngs of aggressive shoppers to find a bargain rather than spend the treasured holiday time with friends and family.

"Missing the mayhem of the stores around the holidays doesn't need to mean missing out on deals or gifts for loved ones. The rise of mobile commerce as well as online shopping means that you can snag that bargain as easily from the couch or a restaurant as you can in person – according to our own research, only eight per cent of Americans are currently shopping from mobile devices. We're expecting that figure to grow inexorably over the coming years."

If you plan to dodge the crowds and stay at home, Rakuten's Buy.com is offering site-wide discounts across its 20 million products offered by its 5,500 merchants—that include your local small businesses and your favorite major brands. Find them all at www.buy.com/blackfriday.

About Rakuten's Buy.com

With more than 18 million customers, Rakuten Buy.com is a leading retail marketplace, focused on providing its customers with an entertaining shopping experience and a broad selection of retail goods at everyday low prices. Rakuten Buy.com connects buyers and sellers in a global marketplace that allows shoppers to buy from people, not the internet. By providing a large selection of products from Computers, Electronics, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Video Games, Home Furnishings & Decor, Baby & Toys, Pets, Sporting Equipment and more, Rakuten Buy.com shoppers support local merchants as well as the brands they love. Founded in 1997, Buy.com joined Rakuten in 2010 to continue its mission to provide a simple, connected and human alternative to the ecommerce experience. Buy.com is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, CA. For more information about Rakuten's Buy.com, please visit www.buy.com.

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ:4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce, e-reading, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees worldwide. For more information, visit: http://global.rakuten.com/group.

Dan Gamble

SOURCE Rakuten Buy.com