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Preparing for the Worst: Bad Online Economic Data Just in Time for Black Friday

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It's the day before Thanksgiving, where you show up at the office, but you're really thinking about tomorrow's good meal. You've worked hard to set up those search marketing campaigns to run strong on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

So, I really hate to bring you the bad news, but keeping it from you would be a disservice.

Let's just rip off the bandaid.

First up, eMarketer has lowered its projections for online advertising spending for 2009. The new growth number is 8.9%, down from 14.5% projected in August. They're also expecting a long recovery, projecting 2010 growth to be just 10.9%. In five years, things will still be slower on the uptake (than in recent years). Projections for 2013 growth are at 13.5%. Silver lining: some of the tapering off is likely due to market saturation and not just the economy.

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Next, eBay's traffic is declining. In January of 2007, eBay saw 62 million unique visitors. Last month, they saw just 49 million. Sure, not all of that was due to the economy, but dipping below 50 million can't be good for eBay.

I saved the worst for last. comScore has released data showing that online consumer spending for the first 23 days of November was down 4% from last year. That's not a slow down in growth people, that's flat out shrinkage.

But I'm not a total Scrooge. Unemployment numbers were better than expected this week. And at least one Slate columnist explains why fears of another Great Depression could be overblown (let's hope he's right!).

As we overdose on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, let us not forget the ultimate strategy for marketing, business and life in general: Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Related Reading:
Selling SEO During an Economic Downturn
E-commerce Growth Slows to Just 1% in October 2008
Online Advertising Networks Struggle As Industry Growth Slows


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