Over the years the “biggest shopping day” of the year has evolved into the “biggest shopping weekend” of the year; more recently the seven days around Thanksgiving are now deemed “Deal Week”. Retailers are capitalizing on Black Friday as a concept instead of an actual day. These Black Friday deals can be had, it seems, any day of the week, and for weeks prior to the actual date itself. So did those that still camp under dark skies in front of department store entrances on Thanksgiving night not get the tweet? People are now getting holiday shopping done long before Thanksgiving Day and at holiday discount prices. Is there really any reward for those still facing crowds in malls across America on Black Friday?
Apparently yes. According to Bankrate, the global financial services company, steep discounts can be found on Black Friday but typically on lesser quality models of merchandise.[i] This year, as in years past, electronics, the lead bait of several retailers, are expected to have huge discounts on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but on lesser models; high end electronics will see further discounts but not of the “doorbuster” variety their lower end counterparts will have.
Despite the National Retail Federation’s definition of the holiday shopping season as November and December (61 days), the biggest shopping day remains Black Friday, according to ShopperTrak, a business which tracks consumer foot traffic in malls. A quarter of the US population will be spending money on Black Friday in stores and online. With numbers like these, retailers will deliver steep discounts to keep consumers enticed and spending. The heavily discounted merchandise expected to lure holiday shoppers include tablets, TVs, DVDs and video games, cookware and kitchen gadgets, as well as household appliances both large and small (think washers/dryers and vacuum cleaners, especially refurbished models). Reeled in by steep discounts on big ticket items, shoppers can then expect to find themselves surrounded by merchandise that didn’t sell well earlier in the year – now heavily discounted. Retailers are banking on consumers walking away with merchandise even if its merchandise they wouldn’t have bought months ago. The commitment to Black Friday shopping almost requires money be spent to feel the experience it was worth it, by the consumer. These items may be marked so low that they are hard to turn down, but this is what retailers want. Black Friday on average makes up 20% of retailers entire annual revenue, for some businesses Black Friday sales are as much as 30% of their annual revenue.[ii] Retailers want people in the door this day, and great deals are what accomplishes that. It’s the most competitive shopping day of the year, not only for consumers but for retailers as well; price matching anyone?
Let’s face it, some simply love the sport of Black Friday shopping. After all, shouting matches and fistfights have become synonymous to Black (and Blue) Friday just as 7 layer dip is to Super Bowl. They go hand in hand. And of course there are the hours of holiday cocktail party storytelling these incidents provide were you ‘lucky’ enough to witness the altercations that a combination of sleep deprivation, limited merchandise and a massive crowd are sure to provide. Happy shopping!