Black Friday Disappoints Retailers
By: Alley Coulter
For a second year, Black Friday spending has fallen short of expectations. This single day of consumer spending is particularly important to a successful holiday season within the retail sector and means that an extra push is needed from retailers for the remainder of the holiday season in order to make up for these lost sales. Both sales numbers and customer visit numbers fell from last year’s Black Friday turnout. Sales numbers dropped 11% from $57.4 billion US last year to $50.9 billion this year and about 5.1 million fewer people were out shopping on Black Friday, which is a 7% decrease from last year.
Some analysts claim that this news isn’t bad because many shoppers are moving online. The craze of standing in line and pushing through crowds of people seems to be declining and consumers are looking to online deals instead. Thus far this holiday season, shoppers have spent $22.7 billion online, a 15% increase from last year and this includes $1.5 billion spent online on Black Friday. These numbers were so successful for both Target and Walmart, that they broke online sales records. This begs the question of which day has a better deal, Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And the answer is that it depends. Shopping for electronics has more cost savings on Black Friday and apparel, shoes, and beauty are better to purchase on Cyber Monday.
That being said, retailers have also spread out the holiday sales, rather than concentrating them to one day or one weekend. This turns consumers away from fighting the malls on Black Friday because they know the sales are still coming. Therefore, retailers shouldn’t be all that surprised that Black Friday sales are lower and that Cyber Monday sales may also sink. This begins the evolution of holiday shopping as consumer demands are changing and retailers must follow suit in order to maintain sales figures and contend in this dangerously competitive time of year. 70 percent of shoppers say that because deals are available all of the time, both in stores and online, they feel Black Friday is unimportant. The days of long lineups and overrun malls, the staple of Black Friday, may be ending and replaced with both online shopping and in store shopping that is not concentrated on one day. If this is the new trend, retailers must adapt thereby monitoring staffing assignments, operation hours, and inventory stock.