If you want to get a leading indicator of how retailers are doing, going online is definitely the best way to get up-to-the-minute data. Not only is the data coming out of online retailers much more real-time, there has also been a huge shift to the online retail channel. For instance, Amazon has knocked the ball out of the park. Its shares hit an all-time high today. This is not a U.S.-only phenomenon; shoppers in the UK are getting online for the Holiday season as well.
That’s why I think the heat map from eBay below is so cool. It shows in all of the sales activity on Black Friday by colour – that’s 1 million transactions in total. The areas in yellow are where the transaction volume was lowest relative to last year. Red areas are hot’ that’s where the action was – and where volumes increased.