Still one of the top shopping days of the year, ShopperTrak, a website which counts foot traffic in retail stores, reports “preliminary retail visit data for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday 2016, [found] that shopper visits declined a combined 1 percent when compared to the same days in 2015.”
Brian Field, senior director of advisory services for ShopperTrak said, “After analyzing historical shopper visit data, we found that Thanksgiving Day store openings were increasingly pulling shopper visits from Black Friday over the past few years.”
Despite this decline in sales at brick-and-mortar stores, online sales increased an estimated 21.6% from 2015 with online sales totaling over $3.3 billion, with about $1 billion in online sales coming from mobile devices.
ShopperTrak adds, “Separating shopper visits on Black Friday and Thanksgiving night and reporting that ‘Black Friday visits are down’ fails to acknowledge that, just a few years ago, retailers began opening their stores earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving night.”
When online purchases from Thanksgiving Day are added, “shoppers spent $5.27 billion in online purchases on Thursday and Friday, up 17.7 percent from the two-day period last year.”
However, the holiday shopping sales may not actually be down. Total sales are projected to increase from 2015 with the National Retail Federation estimating total holiday season sales, i.e. total sales in November and December, expected to jump 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion. And ShopperTrak shows 8 of the 10 busiest shopping days of the year are in December, with the day after Christmas as the second busiest shopping day after Black Friday followed by December 23 and the Saturday before Christmas Eve (December 17, this year).
If you’re a consumer, and to some extent everyone is a consumer, you may find some good deals this time of year. I’m not a fan of the consumerism associated with holidays. As a matter of fact, I like the idea of Buy Nothing Day. However, I understand people do need to make legitimate purchases, such as food, fuel or other essential items.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not oppose the idea of businesses offering good deals. What I oppose is the false sense of urgency and artificial scarcity on these deals. I oppose the tactic of using loss-leaders to get people into your store in the hopes that they will but things they probably don’t want or need, and can’t afford.
Whether or not Black Friday becomes Black Thursday or even Black Wednesday, I believe that businesses should offer products at an affordable price every day of the year and consumer’s should be smart enough not to purchase what they can’t afford.