The number of people who visit stores opening in the morning on Black Friday is lower than previous years. Reuters as well as the Los Angeles Times show that shoppers are getting less competition for bargains in-store. Adobe Systems has released new data that shows consumers are more likely to shop online for Black Friday deals. According to this morning’s update $490 million has been made online between midnight and 8:30 AM. ET. ET.
Total Retail Take While the decline in importance of Black Friday is something that has been debated for a while, this year may be the year we see a drop in brick-and mortar shopping during the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season. Online shopping is growing in popularity, and retailers now offer Black Friday deals over longer periods of times.
Black Friday is here to stay
REI has announced that it will once more close its doors on BlackFriday. The outdoor retailer will close all 149 stores on Black Friday ,Thanksgiving and will process no online sales. All 12,287 employees will be paid to go outside. The decision of the specialty retailer to close down on the largest shopping day of the year was positive and pioneering. It will be a model for other retailers.
The conversation is not so positive for large retailers such as Macy’s and Target, which are open on Thanksgiving and traditionally Black Friday. If you look at the comments to any article about the topic, it is clear that people believe these big-box brands have become too family-centric. They are furious that people don’t spend time with their families and claim that only they care about their bottom line.
This is a large part true.
Take a look back
Since 1932, Thanksgiving Day has been considered the start of holiday shopping season in America. The Black Friday that we all love and hate has held the title of busiest shopping day since the early 2000s.
In 2008, the financial crisis ravaged stores and shareholders were determined to solve their profit problems. To boost Black Friday sales, stores opened on Thanksgiving. Although there has been some decline in Black Friday sales over the years (in 2014, the spending volume for Black Friday was the lowest since 2008), it is not something retailers can reverse. Wall Street has set its expectations and shareholders won’t accept a loss on Black Friday.
You can open it and they will come.
These mega-retailers cannot afford to miss Black Friday. It’s appealing to close on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This is in addition to the message of unplugging and engaging with family. The reality is that REI’s annual sales are much lower than the major retailers’ Black Friday sales.
People fail to realize that stores are open as people continue to come by and spend billions of dollar. According to media reports, shoppers will not only show-up but will also do everything necessary to get top-quality items at a fraction the retail price. They’ll wait hours (read: camp), and then line up at cash machines to purchase the faux feather puffer coats for $19.99, $15.99 boots of brand-name brands, or whatever else their children want from Santa. This has become an annual family tradition, with many Americans embracing it as an annual Thanksgiving tradition. The majority of consumers will shop and will be pleased about it.
Contrary to popular belief, retailers make sure their employees are always in mind when they decide to stay open on Thanksgiving weekend and Black Friday weekend. These 72 hours can be exhausting for millions of Americans, but store managers make Black Friday weekend enjoyable. They make the chaos of the crowds into an opportunity to motivate and work hard with co-workers. The adrenaline rush from the day flows down the chain of command, and back up again.
REI will be celebrated for opting out of Black Friday. Many consumers will be influenced by its message that family is more important than corporate sales. However, most major retailers can be confident that secret sales, low prices, and early openings will continue into the future.