Digital Solutions for Multi-Location Brands and Franchises

Black Friday: Past, Present, & Future Retail Outrageousness

black fridayImage Source

There seems to be differing beliefs about how Black Friday started. Personally, I never questioned why it was a thing until I decided to write this blog post.

So for anyone intrigued, here’s the evolution of Black Friday – why it came to be and how it has evolved over time.

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The myth

According to most, they say that after an entire year of operating at a loss (in the red), stores would supposedly earn a profit (go into the black) on the day after Thanksgiving.

Apparently, it is because shoppers spent so much money on discounted products, which is typically due to brands cleaning out their inventory of outdated products. Or, perhaps, introducing new and limited products to enhance their brand awareness. However, I have found that there is a different story behind Black Friday – one that is not quite as “glamorous”.

 

The ACTUAL story

The term “Black Friday” wasn’t nationally known until the 1980s; however, the city of Philadelphia has used it since the 50s.

The Philadelphia police coined this term when they experienced utter chaos on the day after Thanksgiving when the city flooded with shoppers determined to get what they needed.

As you can see, Black Friday started out with a negative association. And some may still agree that it causes negativity, anger, and rage – especially after a loving Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.

Two hours after dinner, we’re ready to even steal from children if they get in our way.

 

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From Black Friday to Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

Over the past 10 years, the Black Friday “holiday” soon became a 3-4 day discounted sales event. Now brands also promote Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday – leaving endless opportunities to pick up those high ticket items you’ve been hoping for.

According to NRF’s annual holiday survey, shoppers are blowing more than 1/3 of their holiday budget over the 5 days of shopping from Thanksgiving day to Cyber Monday.

shopping thanksgivingImage Source

Just last year, approximately $687.87 billion was spent during the months of November and December.

To keep up with the demand, retailers are hiring extra staff to help. The expected forecast for seasonal employees in 2018 is between 585,000 and 650,000.

To make matters worse, stores now open right at 6 pm Thanksgiving Day and stay open through the night, which causes these employees and store owners to step away from their families to deal with the craziness.

black friday meme

Which means… Cyber Monday is becoming my best friend, and I believe many others’ as well. With a growing exhaustion from the frenzied consumerism that is Black Friday – shoppers continue to have an incentive to shop online.

What’s more, the majority of in-store Black Friday deals will also be available online this year. So, that means no horror stories to share at our next family gatherings.

To give some reference to how well Cyber Monday is doing compared to Black Friday sales, 81 million consumers shopped on Cyber Monday last year, bringing in $6.59 billion for retailers, and Black Friday sales bringing in $5 billion.

Here’s the bottom line – unless you’re after a specific big-ticket item or just love the idea of battling crowds and confronting strangers with little to no sleep, you can find the same or better deals on Cyber Monday.

 

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Black Friday and technology go together like turkey and gravy

Over the years, the high demand, doorbuster items among consumers tend to be technology-related.

Out of 1,045 U.S. shoppers polled this month, 85% said they plan to purchase technology products during Thanksgiving week.

But that’s not all – wait for it…

A recent report projected a 3.4% increase in holiday tech spending, to $96.1 billion – including laptops, TVs, mobile devices, smartwatches, cameras – the list goes on.

That’s a lot of tech products! And with the new home assistants, AI-related products, and wireless earbuds making headway, consumers want nothing more than to stay on top of trends – to get the latest and greatest.

Speaking of which, have you ever noticed that new tech items come out strategically during this holiday weekend? New GoPro cameras and Apple iPhones come out before Black Friday every year. Coincidence? I think not. It’s the perfect marketing strategy.

 

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Ready, Set, Go!

While most retailers keep their Black Friday discounts confidential, here’s a site that tells you the discount price and what day it becomes available for a variety of brands like Amazon, Target, Walmart and more – you’re welcome!

Now you can be the first to pick up that new laptop or mobile device and place your order!

We’ve come a long way – from rushing to be first in brick and mortar stores to sitting peacefully in our homes and clicking the “Place Order” button.

I hope you are able to purchase those last minute gifts while carving out some quality time with family and friends! Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Kelly Short is a sales and marketing assistant and contributing columnist at PowerChord. She loves hiking, cooking, and playing the piano.


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