Unofficially designated as the kickoff date for Christmas shopping, Black Friday’s origins go back to Philadelphia in the 1960s. Used in its beginnings as a reference for the amount of people on the streets on the day after Thanksgiving, the justification for this phrase changed to be considered as the day that represented the point when retailers begin to turn a profit, from being in the red to being in the black.
But with the rise of e-commerce, Black Friday is beginning to lag behind both in popularity and in sales records: last year, Cyber Monday, the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, in the United States became the biggest online shopping day in history, surpassing Black Friday’s online sales by over $100 million.
Death by Millennials?
A big chunk of the consumer market, mostly the younger segment, is over Black Friday. New online shopping day deals are being preferred over in-store deals; Cyber Monday 2016 had a $3.45 million sales record; Green Monday, the second Monday of December, has consistent records for the highest online sales for the month of December; Amazon Prime Day on July 11th, hit historical records of online sales.
Social consciousness is also a big player fading out the relevance of Black Friday. Outdoor clothing retailer REI has been closing its doors on Black Friday for three years, as a demonstration against capitalism, and to encourage consumers to enjoy the outdoors. Clothing retailer Everlane donates Black Friday profits to support factory workers in Vietnam; Patagonia, another retailer, donated $10 million to environmental non-profit organizations in 2016.
It would appear that, for the millennial generation, on-site shopping deals like Black Friday are on the way out.
To shop or not to shop
So is Black Friday still relevant for consumers? That depends on who you asking. A recent survey by Nielsen found that 61% of consumers planned to shop on Black Friday; that is 54% more that last year, and the same survey stated that 49% of the consumers planned to start shopping on Thanksgiving evening.
But apparently not everyone feels that way: a recent Accenture survey of found that 52% of consumers are less inclined to shop in-store and online on Black Friday, mostly because they feel Black Friday deals can be found on other seasonal promotions.
Black Friday may not be as strong or unique as it used to; e-commerce is widening the availability of deals, changing buying preferences, making holiday shopping an all year practice; consumers are realizing that in-store shopping on a particular day is not as much of a deal in terms of pricing, which is the most important buying driver.
Still, Black Friday remains relevant for many industries, and even though the percentage of on-site consumers have been decreasing yearly, there is still a lot of people who will be in line, waiting for their favorite store to open and make the best of the deals.