Friday is Black Friday. And we’re sorry to burst your bubble retailers, but the shopping holiday really doesn’t matter all that much anymore.
Too many shopping days
To be clear, that’s not to say that consumers aren’t still in search of discounts. It’s just that over the past few years or so, retailers have expanded on the shopping holiday to such a degree that the day after Thanksgiving isn’t that much of an event anymore. It’s diluted. Now there’s Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving day sales, and Amazon’s Black Friday week, Super Saturday, to name just a few. Consumers can seemingly get deals anywhere—any day.
According to Internet Retailer, “Because retailers offer so many deals spread throughout the holiday season and many deals are available online, 42% of consumers say Black Friday is less important to them than it was five years ago, according to the “Holiday Shopping Survey 2016,” an online survey of 1,054 U.S. shoppers conducted in August. 12% say Black Friday is more important and 46% say its importance hasn’t changed. Conversely, 33% of shoppers say Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving when consumers are back at work and shopping online) is more important to them that it was five years ago.”
But the plethora of deals isn’t the only thing dissuading consumers away from Black Friday shopping.
Christmas Creep refers to the prevalence Christmas displays and sales appearing earlier each year online and in-store. It’s gotten so bad—the BBC reported that some stores started playing Christmas music in August (!!!)—consumers have hit a breaking point.
According to Internet Retailer, “more than half (63%) of U.S. consumers are annoyed or very annoyed when they see holiday merchandise in stores before Halloween.”
And according to Retail Customer Experience, “30 percent of consumers hate it [Black Friday], and 85 percent either hate it or don’t care about it, according to a new BestBlackFriday.com survey. Just 14.7 percent of those polled love the shopping day.
BestBlackFriday.com cites a "Christmas creep" phenomenon as one reason for the consumer feedback as retailers are pushing out discounts and special deals even before Black Friday arrives. The survey notes 10 percent of those polled expect to hit a brick and mortar store on the big day, with 29 percent shopping only online.”
It isn’t coming back
There have been some grumblings that a Christmas Creep push back could reverse declining Black Friday shopping fortunes. Some retailers have advertised store closures on Thanksgiving. Others have hammered home the idea that the very best deals can come only on Black Friday. But it seems to be too little too late.
According to Business Insider, Black Friday sales have been declining for years now and in-store foot traffic is expected to fall by another 3.5 percent in 2016.
They write, “Shopper traffic in stores on Black Friday has been falling with many retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon kicking off their holiday discounts online several weeks in advance. Foot traffic in stores this year is expected to fall by about 3.5% on Black Friday compared to last year, according to data from the location tracking service Foursquare…Last year, about 102 million shoppers hit stores over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, down from 147 million in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation.”
The “new” Black Friday
Consumers are still holiday shopping—online sales are forecast to grow between 7% and 10% over last year—and they’re still looking for deals. But the concept of a singular shopping day of extravagant savings where every consumer is compelled to shop is all but over. Deals are now expected throughout the holiday season. Black Friday is now the entire holiday shopping season, or at least an entire month according to Forbes.
But hey, look at the bright side, at least now there’s the possibility no one will have to hear Frosty the Snowman over Labor Day weekend.