By Justin H.
Black Friday, we are not scared of you anymore!
The novelty and aura of Black Friday has started to wear off in recent years for a variety of reasons, resulting in a changing of the guard. Gone are the days of camping out in a tent by the mall for 12 hours in hopes of getting your hands on the newest gadget. Instead we simply stay up a little past our bedtime constantly refreshing our search browser. Gone, too, are the fears of being mugged or trampled by a mob of seething shoppers at the mall. Because so many people now shop online, you will just encounter some unpleasant traffic.
At TekShouts!, we have shed plenty of light in the past on the Internet’s beneficial relationship with the retail industry, as well as the smartphone epidemic. Both of these ideologies hold true when it comes to holiday shopping. The rise of e-commerce has made Black Friday different than it once was. It can still be a fun and exciting day of shopping if you want it to be, but Cyber Monday is now just as powerful. In fact, CNBC even says that Cyber Monday has already overthrown its vaunted early-weekend foe in terms of providing deals for shoppers.
The year 2013 taught us a lot, and continued a trend of shoppers gearing more towards Monday than Friday. One of the main reasons why Friday is losing some of its luster is because stores are opening their doors earlier and earlier each year. “Deals” are now beginning Thanksgiving night, as the condensed shopping bonanza is being spread out from one day into an entire weekend. Businesses are also beginning their advertising and marketing campaigns for Black Friday much earlier as well. Plenty of deals are also better around Christmas. Have you noticed how pumpkins and candy are so much cheaper after Halloween? The same idea applies to Black Friday.
NerdWallet detailed how searches for the keyword “Black Friday” started picking up steam in mid-October of 2013. If you look at the chart below, you will see that searches are beginning even earlier this year. Obviously, the amount of searches has gone way up in November, but the keyword was even starting to stir up a few results in mid-September.
Since Thanksgiving weekend is no longer viewed as the beginning of the holiday shopping season, sales growth over that weekend has slowed, specifically in brick-and-mortar locations. According to Reuters.com, online sales rose 22 percent between Thursday and Cyber Monday in 2013, which surprisingly does not even include sales made using smartphones or tablets.
Cyber Monday is the biggest day of the year for e-commerce to begin with, and last year, sales rose a staggering 16 percent, as you will see in the graphic below.
Why the Change?
Gadgets and electronics are more popular than ever. The complexity and abundance of tech items out there now makes it more difficult to unveil a groundbreaking product for Black Friday shoppers. There are very few go-to options being released that shoppers cannot get their hands on either online, or during the days before or after Black Friday.
Last year, the Xbox One was released, but it came out the week before Black Friday. Apple unveiled the iPad Air 2 this year, but it came out near the end of October. Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart also have their usual great deals, but they, too have already begun! This happens because retail companies do anything they can to get out ahead of the competition. Customers are not searching high and low or waiting online at 2a.m. to buy things anymore. Instead, consumers gravitate towards stores that have the best deals as opposed to which one has that Furby.
The Internet caters to those of us who require instant gratification. Waiting online is much more tolerable than waiting on an actual line. Marketingland.com noted that one-third of Google product searches are done in the wee hours of the night between 10p.m. and 4a.m.
Cyber Monday also has less frequent stock issues than Black Friday does. If you are trying to buy a hot item online, the chances of them being out of stock are much smaller than they would be if you were to physically go to the store. Cyber Monday deals and Thanksgiving deals are also often much better than those found on Black Friday.
What it All Means
Black Friday is now more of an event, as opposed to being marketed as “the best shopping day of the year.” It is still fun to make a trip to the mall on that hectic day, (given you can find a parking spot), but consumers are clearly gravitating more towards the surrounding days in order to get the best deals.
With mobile optimization and smartphones becoming so widespread, we are connected at all times. It is much simpler to sift out the best deals on our own. Certain gimmicks like free shipping are less of a luxury for holiday deals, and are now a pre-requisite for even getting customers in the door. Another NerdWallet article detailed how 93 percent of retailers listed at least one product for the same price in 2014 as they did last year. Many Black Friday deals are also offered throughout the year at the same prices.
It is unknown whether or not Cyber Monday will dethrone Black Friday in terms of popularity anytime soon, but the battle for overall quality has already been won. Black Friday is still such a stigma and a fun event that it will undoubtedly do its damage on our wallets. Its popularity is unprecedented, but the deals on Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving Day, and the weeks before and after Black Friday weekend are certainly the way to go.
Where will you be doing your holiday splurging this season? Let us know in the comment section below!