Black Friday is in danger of becoming a tradition more honored in the breach than in the observance. For the past two years, Black Friday retail sales have been surpassed by sales on the Saturday before Christmas (dubbed “Super Saturday”), and that trend is expected to continue in a slightly altered way this year.
A recent survey of shoppers weighed in with their answer to the question, “Do you like Black Friday?” Only 14.7% said that they love it, while 50.7% said it was okay. More than a third — 35.3% — said they hated it. A rather staggering 85% of those surveyed either hated Black Friday or didn’t care much about it.
How could this have gone so terribly wrong? For one thing, online shopping has cut into Black Friday store traffic pretty dramatically. Online sales on Black Friday reached $1.4 billion last year and could more than double to $3 billion this year. Store traffic dropped 16% year over year in 2014 and another 1.8% last year.
Another reason, according to BestBlackFriday.com, which conducted the survey, is what the researchers called “Christmas Creep.” Black Friday promotions have crept further and further back on the calendar. Where a week of Black Friday deals was common just a few years, now those deals begin trickling out to consumers right after Halloween.
And what about those deals? Survey respondents were also asked, “Does Black Friday have the lowest prices?” Only 20% said yes, while more than 37% said no and 42% were unsure. If shoppers don’t believe or don’t know if they’re getting the best deals of the season (or the year), then why bother? Especially if you can shop online while watching a football game.
One interesting tidbit from the survey is that 35% of younger shoppers (18 to 29 years old) think that Black Friday deals offer the lowest prices. That number is cut in half for the next age cohort (30 to 44 year olds). The older (and wiser) shoppers get, the less likely they are to believe that Black Friday sales offer the best deals.
When asked how they expect to shop on Black Friday this year, nearly 41% said that they had no plans to do any shopping on the big day. Just 10% said they would shop in brick-and-mortar stores only, while 29% said they would shop online only. Another 21% said they plan to shop both online and in physical stores.
A full report on the survey is available at BestBlackFriday.com.