Black Friday is no longer a day or a week but a state of mind. As retailers extend the shopping season around major consumer shopping staples like the holidays and back-to-school, we're likely to see the eventual extinction of cornerstone promotional events like Black Friday.
At the heart of this trend is the post-recession shopper: Consumers are using multiple marketing channels to find the best deals and prices throughout the season, and they are searching for those deals earlier and earlier. According to Experian Marketing Services' Hitwise data, we are already seeing increases of 11 percent for Black Friday searches in 2013 versus 2012 for this latest week of data.
In an effort to win these deal-hungry, "always on" consumers earlier in the season, retailers are becoming more promotional earlier this season. According to a recent survey of holiday marketers by Experian Marketing Services, nearly half stated that they would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween. Further, the majority of marketers began planning holiday campaigns in the summer months with June earning the title as the top holiday planning month.
In terms of promotional tactics and Black Friday deals, free shipping ranked as the top promotional tactic that marketers will integrate into their customers' holiday shopping experience this year. Thirty-nine percent of marketers surveyed will use free shipping, followed by deal of the day offers (28 percent) and eCoupons (21 percent). Very few marketers plan to use layaway (three percent).
Although Halloween may be weeks away, brace yourself to hear holiday music during your next shopping trip. And with Halloween and holiday displays running side-by-side this season, expect to see more trick-or-treaters wearing Santa Claus costumes.
Is Black Friday (the day) still an important shopping tradition for retailers and their consumers?