Black Friday looking gloomy for retailers

Black Friday has practically turned into a celebrated holiday tradition in America. After enjoying their Thanksgiving meals, people often head to the doors of stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and Macy's for doorbuster sales. While Black Friday still gets plenty of media hype, and stores plan their deals months in advance for the day, the hype of the once popular post-holiday shopping extravaganza seems to be dying.

In a study published by global retail research and consulting agency Conlumino it was found that 45 percent of American shoppers said they will spend less on Black Friday than they did last year, with only 18 percent of shoppers saying they will spend more. 71 percent of American shoppers have become increasingly unimpressed with Black Friday, saying it is less important nowadays as discounts are available year round.

70 percent of shoppers also believe Black Friday shopping is less fun than it used to be, and 62 percent no longer see any point in visiting stores because they can now do their shopping online. Over half of American shoppers agree that shops should not be open on Thanksgiving day either.

Furthermore, Black Friday no longer appears to be major for clothing retailers, with only 32.8 percent of people who plan on shopping saying they will shop at clothing stores. How did a day that was once the highlight of the shopping calendar lose so much of its luster?

Shoppers excitement for Black Friday declining

For starters, retailers have begun having their big deals in the days leading up to Black Friday, versus just the deals being exclusive to Black Friday. For example, Barney's Warehouse sale, which was both online and in stores, saw designer merchandise from brands like Jil Sander, Valentino, and Helmut Lang go for up to 60 percent off the last markdown price for clearance items on last Saturday, November 21.

In addition, customers can now be spared from the hustle and occasional terror that can be those crowded retail stores with people trampling each other, and instead can shop on Cyber Monday. On Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, those items that weren't sold throughout the weekend during Black Friday and the following Saturday and Sunday, often go on further markdowns online.

Customers who have gotten very savvy about their shopping will know that they can get those coveted items for lower marked down prices. In a statement, Conlumino ceo Neil Saunders said "This isn't about finances, it's more of a psychological shift in how consumers see Black Friday." Saunders also added that "The truth is that retailers have undermined Black Friday both by discounting all year round and by stretching the event over many weeks. That weakens its appeal and gives rise to a boredom factor. It's like anything in life: the more you get of something, the less you tend to value it."

Consumers admit to be doing decently financially, so having money to spend doesn't appear to be the issue. 39.4 percent of people in the study said their personal financial circumstances are either good or very good, while 33.5 percent said that they are doing okay financially. The fact of the matter is, running to stores for deals doesn't have the appeal it used to.

Certain stores that would once open on Thanksgiving day due to the popularity of the Black Friday deals, have decided to close their doors for the holiday. Earlier in November, H&M announced that they will be closing on Thanksgiving for the first time in the company's history in the U.S. This puts them among the ranks of other retailers like Sam's Club and Costco who refuse to open doors on Thanksgiving.

The love affair shoppers once had with Black Friday deals is over. As consumer culture has shifted, the once popular deal day has just turned into another deal day for retailers, and no longer shines as something special. What, if anything, retailers will do to try and revive Black Friday has yet to be discussed.

Perhaps the new celebrated deal day will become Cyber Monday in the wake of e-commerce as a growing trend. The big question for tomorrow is, will retailers still see the profits they are expecting?

 

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