Is Black Friday Still Relevant?

by | 03 December 2018

Black Friday has been an eponymous day for retailers’ profit margins and synonymous with savings for consumers. But lately, the question is whether the traditional Black Friday rush to stores will become subsumed by online shopping or made less relevant by the seemingly endless series of promotions. The good news is that, whether they were shopping online or at brick-and-mortar locations, more than 165 million people turned up this year for Black Friday to convert shopping carts into dollars.

Just as we predicted.

The Colliers Fall 2018 Quarterly Spotlight Report: Click and Collect included results from a GlobalData survey of approximately 15,000 consumers about their shopping habits and whether they would spend more during this holiday season compared to 2017. The study showed that a record 63.1% of consumers planned to spend more this year than they did last year, and only 12.6% said they would spend less in 2018 than they did in 2017. Our (unscientific) Twitter poll showed similar results.

The Colliers survey also detailed how retailers have made great strides in blending the in-store and digital experiences, to meet shoppers where they are, in-store, online, or more likely, on their smartphones. With retailers embracing the value of an omnichannel strategy as leverage to engage consumers more fluidly — combined with increased consumer confidence — it made sense that consumer spending would be on the rise this holiday season.

According to the National Retail Foundation, retail sales for the end of the year are expected to climb between 4.3% and 4.8%over 2017 to between $717 billion and $720 billion. That’s an ample amount of revenue at stake. Retailers across the U.S. have been taking advantage of this potential influx of dollars promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals weeks in advance as well as offering sneak peeks into the specials before the actual sales day themselves.

More than half of shoppers — around 89 million people — purchased items both online and in stores during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and on Cyber Monday. Online retail sales, in general, made up a larger share of the pie, with online spending (via mobile) on Black Friday reaching $3.7 billion, up 28% from last year. Cyber Monday raked in $7.9 billion, making it the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, with more than 50% of site visits facilitated on a smartphone (according to Adobe Analytics).

Today’s consumers savvily cross-check prices on their mobile devices to ensure they’re getting the best value for their purchase, so the idea of a special sale seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. And if anything, the holiday savings season has become elastic. Consumers, myself included, are bombarded with sale promotions and discount offers nearly every day of the year, and as far as I can tell it feels like the concept of Black Friday may no longer be relevant.

For more of my thoughts about Black Friday check out my recent interview with National Real Estate Investor here, and join the conversation by tweeting me @anjeesolankiCRE.

Anjee continues to be an insatiable enthusiast of all things retail. She’s a student of culture with a pulse on future shoppers and the fleeting trends constantly changing the retail landscape … driving retailers, landlords and developers crazy!