Black Friday started off as a single day but now has expanded into an entire week or more of offers both at retail stores and online ones. How has Black Friday expanded and what has driven this expansion? Where does Cyber Monday fit in, and where will these two days head in the future?
Black Friday Expansion
Thanksgiving or Black Thursday? That is the question we seem to be asking ourselves this year. In 2012, a few big box stores such as Walmart, Sears, and Target started their Black Friday hours on Thursday night. This year, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JCPenney have joined them announcing their sales will begin at 8 PM on Thursday. A search for a larger array of customers continues to lead retailers to push the boundaries of this shopping event and to invade the traditional Thanksgiving holiday. The changes are already paying off with more sales and foot traffic for retailers.
Not only is the brick-and-mortar shopping sector of Black Friday expanding, but the online version is as well. With early Black Friday deals, pre-Black Friday sales, Thanksgiving offers, and, of course, Black Friday specials, one would think the market would be diluted and grow tired of all the deal news. Right?
A quick look at data compiled by comScore tells a different story. Online holiday spending increased 14% in 2012 to $42.3 billion with the largest online sales increases coming on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The sales figures on these two days increased 32% and 28% respectively.
Just as Black Friday’s transitions into a Black Week, Cyber Monday is seemingly transitioning into a Cyber Week. Cyber Monday 2012 was the largest single online shopping day in US history. Promptly following this Monday, online retailers such as Amazon, Newegg, and Overstock continued the deals through Friday.
Where Does It Go From Here?
The expansion of the top holiday shopping days, particularly Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has been driven by the top retailers’ pursuit of more sales in an era where shoppers are savvier than ever and critical of every sale.
Retailers need to make unique offerings on multiple days to hook the shopper. The expansion of the Black Friday day to Thanksgiving and the next Saturday is a result of retailers luring shoppers into their stores with a few doorbusters in hopes that they will also take advantage of the entire selection of moderate deals available.
The future is bright for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, and all of the days before, in between, and after that we now fondly call Black Thursday and Cyber Week.
Black Friday is a staple for American shoppers and there is no slowing down in sight as the deals are as enticing as ever. We see online sales continuing to increase at a minimum of 20% as online Black Friday shopping is still a fairly new concept, and many people are just now catching on. Online Thanksgiving shopping is an even newer concept and any increase below 35% would shock us.
While some analysts believe that Cyber Monday will be extinct in the near future, we see it differently. ComScore reported a whopping 17% increase in sales from 2011 to 2012 which came out to a little over $200 million more. Our data suggests growth for 2013 to be around 14-14.5% for a sales total of nearly $1.7 billion.
So, how much is too much? Are we neglecting spending quality time with our families on Thanksgiving because we are too focused on finding deals online or rushing out to get in line at our favorite stores? Is it possible to find a balance between family and getting the most out of the sales that are available? I personally believe with proper research and planning, you can have your pumpkin pie and eat it, too. What do you think?