Black Friday has a reputation for being a madhouse of frenzied shoppers, scratching and clawing for the best deals. But if you went on a post-Thanksgiving shopping spree this year, you may have noticed that was hardly the case.
Sales at retailers over Thanksgiving weekend were lower than they were prior to the pandemic. With this in mind, some insiders are questioning whether the hectic Black Fridays we’ve come to expect are gone for good.
Cyber Monday Shines
While foot traffic in stores was over 10% lower than it was in 2019, Cyber Monday sales skyrocketed. In fact, Adobe Analytics (ADBE) reported the digital shopping day’s 2023 sales at $11.3 billion — the largest total recorded.
This shows that Americans are still shopping for sales in the wake of Thanksgiving. They just might be looking for ways to skip the checkout lines. Industry insiders are eyeing three potential culprits for Black Friday’s demise.
It’s hard to ignore the impact that the record high inflation our country is currently experiencing may have had on seasonal shopping habits. While this has undoubtedly left consumers with less spending power, it doesn’t explain Cyber Monday’s strong sales.
Another explanation is the rise of the digital storefront. Since retailers’ sleek online stores never close — and many offer 2-3 day shipping — consumers can shop whenever and wherever they want. This also allows retailers to cast wider nets, offering discounts for several weeks before and after Black Friday, without relying on the holiday to bring bodies through the door.
Additionally, companies have gotten better at forecasting demand and operating supply chains. If a product isn’t available in stores, it may still be available online. This reduces the fear that stores might run out of must-have toys or electronics, possibly explaining the lack of urgency on Black Friday, which formerly drove shoppers to line up outside stores in the wee hours of the morning.
While Black Friday still kicks off the holiday shopping season, there’s a good chance that this holiday will continue to become more emblematic and less frenetic over time. If the alternative is a slugfest over the last remaining flatscreen, ultimately, this may be for the best.
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