Black Friday was once the Superbowl of Shopping- the one day a year when thousands of deal-seekers would show up at the mall at the crack of dawn, score some bargains, and be home in time to watch the game on TV. It was all so simple in those days. And then retailers realized that they were missing out on 6 or 7 critical hours of the busiest shopping day of the year and opened at midnight on Black Friday. And if they were going to open at midnight- then why not open at 10PM (or 8PM as Target, Macy’s, and Walmart recently announced) on Thanksgiving Day? And let’s not forget our online stores- because we can start shopping those sales while the turkey is still in the oven…
The result of this never-ending war to capture the wallet-share of holiday shoppers is that Black Friday has been extended in every possible direction- for both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. According to the National Retail Foundation, more than half of retailers surveyed in Shop.org’s eHoliday survey are planning to start their Thanksgiving weekend online promotions at least five days before the holiday weekend. Accounting for the sales and discounts offered through the holiday weekend and additional online sales on Cyber Monday- that implies that what used to be Black Friday is now a 10 day long shopping event.
So the question remains- has Black Friday lost its luster? According to a preliminary Thanksgiving weekend survey from the National Retail Federation, up to 140 million people plan to shop or will shop in stores and online over the Thanksgiving weekend from Thursday through Sunday, down from the 147 million who planned to do so last year. And nearly a quarter of those who expect to shop, or roughly 33 million shoppers, plan to do so on Thanksgiving Day, the NRF said. As for online shopping, the NRF said more than half of retailers surveyed in Shop.org’s eHoliday survey are planning to start their Thanksgiving weekend online promotions at least five days before the holiday weekend, and 53.5% of retailers said they will offer promotions on Thanksgiving Day itself.
According to preliminary research, interest in Black Friday is at its highest level in five years. Accenture reports that a total of 55% of American adults are planning to storm the malls on Black Friday, up from 53% in 2012 and 44% in 2011. And surprisingly, the majority of Millennials — 58% of the 18-to-24 crowd plan to buy most of their gifts in stores. But of the 45- to-59-year-olds shopping on Thanksgiving, most intend to do the bulk of their shopping online.
So perhaps the Superbowl of Shopping has become the Olympics of Shopping? Either way- it sounds as if Black Friday 2013 is going to be one for the books!