By Stacey M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
According to a survey conducted in October, nearly 70 percent of consumers plan to skip Black Friday and holiday shopping altogether this year.
While some believed retailers were manipulating shoppers, a relatively large number (18 percent) said they would not shop because of the crowds.
Despite the survey’s relatively small sample size, a growing number of shoppers said Black Friday has lost its allure.
“While Black Friday sales offer brands a great opportunity to keep customers coming back for more, they also present a noteworthy risk for shoppers who overbuy,” said Michael Podolsky, CEO and co-founder of PissedConsumer.com, which conducted the survey.
“Consumers are now more savvy about their purchases and how much they spend. It is not only inflation that causes a shift in consumer behavior,” Podolsky stated.
“The survey found that 85% of shoppers now rely on online reviews when shopping because they want to avoid overall dissatisfaction with their purchases.”
Small business development expert Stephanie Scheller from Grow Disrupt said there’s no doubt that the days of shopping the day after Thanksgiving are over.
“While some places still have ‘slashers’ to take part in, most offer great deals online or start so early that it’s not worth fighting for Black Friday outside of the tradition,” Scheller said.
“I think the problem with that is that we’re going to end up weakening the power of that concept, and while the overall shopping numbers might be OK, the concept of one powerful day to generate sales during the holiday season is probably going to go away. »
In accordance with Adobe AnalyticsBlack Friday 2021 generated $14.04 billion in online sales, with $8.9 billion spent on Black Friday and $5.14 billion on Thanksgiving.
The spending represents a 0.63% decline from 2020, when online sales totaled $14.13 billion on Black Friday.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, 100 million consumers shopped online in 2020, while in-person shopping on Black Friday was down 37 percent from 2019.
“Digitalization has fueled the growth of online shopping, making special deals and offers no longer exclusive,” said Matt Gilman, founder of the company Compass SMB.
“People prefer online shopping more than brick-and-mortar stores, which affects Black Fridays. And that’s because online stores offer discounts at the same prices. So, along with low prices, we can focus on providing a better trading environment.”
Despite the drop in sales and enthusiasm from many parts of the country, some are still taking advantage of the tradition of getting up early from the dinner table to stand in the long lines that often accompany Black Friday sales.
“I usually find shopping therapy; so I always look forward to Black Friday because of the great prices,” said Sean Harris, editor-in-chief of Family Destinations Guide, which provides information and reviews on resorts, hotels and global destinations.
“Not only does Black Friday allow me to fill my closet with the latest styles at discounted prices, but it also allows me to find great deals on electronics and books,” Harris exclaimed.
“I primarily rely on gadgets to simplify my life as a tech-savvy person. So I need everything from an air purifier to a coffee maker.
“As a result, Black Friday will never lose its appeal to me because I can get incredible discounts on electronics online.
“The same is true for the books that are my staple and are available wholesale in specially curated bestseller collections every Black Friday sale.”
Emily Saunders, eLuxury’s chief revenue officer, noted that Black Friday always loses its luster during economic downturns, but she’s skeptical that the dips are permanent.
“Physical retail is going away, but Black Friday still has a big heart when economic times are good,” Saunders said.
“After the Great Recession ended, it bounced back with a vengeance and online shopping became an established alternative.
“I liken it to network television. Anything that airs on the major networks is watched by far fewer people compared to the days leading up to the broadcast, but you’d never know it on Super Bowl Sunday. It still attracts around 100 million viewers every year.”