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Is Black Friday Dead?

Yes, you read that right – Could this decades long shopping tradition be on the brink of extinction? Experts alike are wondering if the long-standing Black Friday tradition is dying in 2020.  


Since the 1950s people began calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving so they could holiday shop, but the term “Black Friday” did not appear in print officially until 1966. Overtime it became an unofficial American holiday for American businesses, but as of late other countries around the globe have started to adapt Black Friday advertising and promotional pricing tooWith retail shopping at a global high, there would be a presumption of growth for this yearly promotion, but due to recent trends evolving drastically this year, it seems sales and promotions are to be spread out to encapsulate more than just the day after Thanksgiving.   

“Black Friday has looked different in recent years due to the popularity of online sales, and this year the traditional day for shopping deals could dramatically change,” says  Journal-News. With more statewide restrictions limiting the number of customers allowed in stores at one time, lines will be longer, and consumers will be turning to shop online. Though not every state has the same restrictions, most nationwide retail chains have adapted the same “safe shopping” practices which include: wiping down surfaces after each customer, limiting the amount of shoppers allowed, requiring face masks, requiring 6 feet distancing between customers, closed dressing rooms, and encouraging same day order pick-up. Along with these guidelines, stores are expecting a large increase of online orders. Instead waiting on Cyber Monday or Black Friday to offer deals, companies around the United States have stretched out their sales all November long. 

Macy’s CEO, Jeff Gennette, shares Macy’s concerns going into the holidays. He says to CNN Business, “When you look at the stores, I would tell you that [crowds are] a big concern of ours. But when you think about a Black Friday, if you think about the 10 days before Christmas, what does that mean in terms of traffic if people are nervous about gathering with crowds?” Whether consumers will feel comfortable shopping during the holidays, will be up to the consumer, and will be determined once the holiday season really takes off.    

On top of dragging out of deals, CNN Business reports that Black Friday has been losing its relevance with shoppers in recent years. “Online sales were rising even before the pandemic. In 2019, shoppers spent more than $600 billion online, up nearly 15% from the previous year, according to the Commerce Department.” Though, the US, economy is struggling and some 6.9% of Americans are unemployed, according to Deloitte, consumer spending will increase this Q4. Retailers, have increased, “online only” sales and have already started these promotions. Companies such as Target, Walmart, and Home Depot are offering, “Black Friday Deals all season long.” Big box retailers are trying to avoid the bottleneck of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shipping bottlenecks. With the encouragement of shopping all season rather than shopping on one or two days, they are not killing Black Friday, rather re-inventing it. The term, Black Friday, sparks awareness in consumers’ minds. Consumers understand that when they hear, Black Friday, they know they will be receiving massive price cuts. Black Friday now no longer represents on day on the calendar, rather it represents massive holiday deals.   

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