Black Friday Still Matters, But How Much?
With retailers basically setting up holiday displays and running Christmas
sales in July, it is easy to come to the conclusion Black Friday isn’t quite
as important as it once was. While there may be a certain amount of truth
to that, holiday sales scorekeeping still suggests that the day after Thanksgiving
is far from a retail anachronism.
Phil Rist, EVP of BIGresearch, told Marketing Daily, “It’s always
going to be the day for the super deals and the way stores try to get the
money early in the season.”
A study by Accenture suggests consumers may be starting – and finishing
– their holiday shopping earlier this year than in the past. Perhaps that
is because of fewer funds or maybe it is just a desire to have it done with.
Nearly 70 percent of consumers expect to have most of their holiday shopping
completed by Dec. 7. A greater number of consumers also plan to shop on Black
Friday this year with 52 percent ready to brave the crowds versus 42 percent
While consumers may be turning up earlier in stores for the holidays, they
won’t be purchasing unless they get a deal on the products they want. That,
some believe, could be an issue as tightly edited inventories have reduced
choices this year and heavy discounting on an everyday basis leaves little
room for retailers to go much lower and still make money.
Leon Nicholas, director of retail insight at Management Ventures, told Marketing
Daily, “You may see them buying heavily at discounters, where they
believe inventory will be limited. But while you may see a lot of people
walking through stores like Macy’s, they won’t be buying yet. Retailers
have trained them to wait longer.”
Discussion Questions: Does Black Friday still matter? Do gift card sales
necessitate a new scorecard (timeframe) for judging retailers’ success or
failure during the winter holiday selling season?