Walmart shoppers upped their towel consumption by one million cotton squares this year, fighting each other for bargain bath towels and washcloths starting at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, when the mega retailer began its Black Friday sale.
Overall, 2.8 million towels were purchased, making the towel this year's top-selling item across all their stores. According to Walmart, the towels, priced at $1.74 per bath towel or pack of six washcloths, were sold at far greater numbers than electronics and other traditional gifts. This year the retailer sold 2 million televisions, 1.9 million dolls, 1.4 million tablets and 300,000 bicycles.
According to Marketwatch, consumers' recent obsession with cheap towels is a sign that more people are seeing Black Friday as an opportunity to do their personal shopping, rather than pick up presents:
Another reason the towels sold so well was that Black Friday weekend has increasingly become a holiday where shoppers are out shopping for themselves, says Meghan Heffernan, the director of public relations for Savings.com — towels tend not to be popular gifts. According to a survey for DealNews. 44% of consumers planned to buy loot for themselves on Black Friday; among consumers ages 18 - 35 that number swells to 57%.
And, ahem, because five years after the start of the great recession, a lot people are still poor. According the Associated Press's Black Friday follow up, this year's sales fell by 2.9 percent from last year, even though more people — 3 million more than last year's 89 million — were out shopping.
If you were wondering what Walmart's top seller is on non-Black Fridays... its bananas.