Is Black Friday dead?
Despite favorable economic conditions, including the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years, cheap and easy-to-get loans, the annual sales fest doesn’t expect a traditional avalanche of shoppers, standing in endless lines outside stores and then shopping until they drop.
According to the latest survey by the National Retail Federation, 59 percent of consumers are planning to shop online instead of going to brick and mortar shops. That’s reportedly the first year when buying online is the most popular choice for shoppers.
“The holiday season is always important, but this year is more important than ever. Department stores are struggling to prove they are still relevant,” said Robert Schulz, the chief credit analyst for the retail sector for Standard & Poors, as quoted by CNN Money.
The analyst forecasts strong spending this holiday season but warns that traditional retailers have nothing good to come from that.
At the same time, more and more people opt to do their holidays shopping throughout the week of Thanksgiving and after Black Friday. Only 35 percent of shoppers intend to do most of their shopping on the very day of Black Friday this year, down 24 percent since 2015, according to a report released by consultancy PwC earlier this month.
Some 13 percent of those surveyed said they would shop Monday through Thursday with 21 percent shopping on Cyber Monday. Both figures are up six percent since 2015.
More than a half of the 1,500 respondents surveyed by the consultancy, said they would procrastinate on their holiday shopping until the week after Black Friday with 15 percent to complete their shopping between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Meanwhile, most of the retailers start clearance sales well before Black Friday. That’s one of the reasons the traditional hype around America's sacred shopping day has been losing steam in recent years.