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Analysis

8 Reasons Why Black Friday Should Be Canceled

Black Friday is now as synonymous with Thanksgiving as serving turkey. Here’s why we call to forgo the annual extravaganzas in 2018

Sarah Pritzker
January 15 2018

Black Friday sales have become almost as much of an institution as the turkey and cranberry sauce that precede it, but marketers and retailers, and even shoppers, are increasingly demanding for its ban. Black Friday is reported to bring in several billion dollars over the full Black Friday weekend, but there are a number of reasons why Black Friday is not actually as good a deal as it may seem. Now that Black Friday 2017 is behind us, let’s look at eight reasons why Black Friday should be canceled.

#1 Black Friday just isn’t exciting any more

Black Friday used to be a single day of exciting major discounts. But today, stores extend their Black Friday deals all the way through Cyber Monday and beyond, as well as stretch the sales back in time by pushing the offers well before Black Friday begins. Macy’s and JC Penney are among the major names that open their doors on the stroke of midnight (meaning, Thursday night/Friday morning) as to compete with online sales, but many outlets start their discounts before Thanksgiving Day. With Black Friday lasting for around a week, the excitement has been diluted and doesn’t pull in the same crowds.

#2 Cyber Monday is more attractive

As ecommerce becomes more popular, Black Friday has been losing its appeal. Many consumers prefer to shop online in their pajamas instead of risking life and limb in the cold waiting outside a superstore. According to ShopperTrak retail analysts, visits to brick and mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday fell by 1.6% in 2017 while online spending grew by 18.3% on Thanksgiving Day and 16.9% on Black Friday. Although $5.03 billion was spent online on Black Friday in 2017, Cyber Monday saw $6.59 billion of purchases online, according to Adobe Analytics.

#3 Black Friday loses money for retailers

Black Friday sales dominate the entire November retail world. Shoppers hold back from buying during November because they’re waiting for the Black Friday sales, but Black Friday doesn’t always deliver as much income as hoped. Black Friday profits are driven either by a tiny profit margin on a huge volume of sales or by massive loss leaders drawing consumers in to spend money on non-discounted goods. Neither approach is very reliable for large profits. Without Black Friday, consumer spending might be more evenly spread throughout the season, which would bring in a more reliable cash flow for retailers and enable a healthier economy.

#4 Black Friday sales lead to a “race to the bottom”

Because Black Friday revenue is driven by discounts, stores end up competing with each other to offer the best and biggest price cuts. Retailers find themselves selling items for untenably low prices in order to compete. Stores essentially gamble that their slashed prices will attract enough customers to walk through the door. Equipped with omnichannel marketing information, consumers are fully informed about the best offers and go straight to the lowest prices instead of checking out the options at their local, nearby stores.

#5 Black Friday performance doesn’t mean anything for the economy

According to conventional wisdom, strong sales on Black Friday are the sign of a forthcoming holiday season filled with good sales and high revenues. But the recent years of recession have proved that theory wrong. Instead, solid Black Friday sales have are followed by poor holiday season revenue. Consumers who are feeling the pinch might spend a lot when the discounts are big, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll continue spending once the discounts end. One solution is to extend the discounts for longer, but the drawback is that consumers learn to spend less each day in the hopes of better discounts tomorrow. This only spurs more discounts and less spending, causing a vicious cycle of lower sales, eventually leading to businesses dismissing staff and higher unemployment.

#6 Black Friday sales have a reputation for violence

Huge media coverage of stampedes and riots at stores offering Black Friday discounts has been giving Black Friday sales the reputation for being dangerous. In 2008, a Walmart salesman died in a stampede at the beginning of Black Friday sales. Meanwhile, there have been plenty of other deaths and injuries. Once inside the doors, shoppers often fight over who set their hands on the best deals first. Many shoppers are growing cold to the whole idea of queuing for hours, jostling for a place outside the doors, and being shoved around by hundreds of other bargain-hunters just for some lower-price goods.

#7 Black Friday sales aren’t really worth it

As many consumer guidance websites report, Black Friday sales aren’t really all that after all. Often the best stuff isn’t on sale until after the Christmas rush. Toys, for example, are cheaper in the run-up to Christmas and Hanukkah than during Black Friday weekend. Generally, the biggest sales are on poor-quality goods. High quality apparel isn’t usually included in the discounts, while the best offers on large items like fridges and TVs are usually on the brands you’ve never heard of. The famous “doorbusters” are also extremely limited in number. Queuing for hours to get a hugely discounted TV is becoming something close to winning the lottery. Stores only need to have three or four items in stock in order to advertise the doorbuster price, but that means that you only need to be fifth in line to miss out entirely.

#8 Black Friday sales are taking over Thanksgiving

Social media was full of people tweeting and posting their indignation that the likes of Macy’s were opening their doors on Thanksgiving itself, causing workers to miss out on some of their holiday to get to work on time. It’s also clear that instead of spending time as families and friends, consumers are turning away from their Thanksgiving festivities to click online or shop on their smartphones. The argument that Thanksgiving should be about spending time with those you love pushes back against Black Friday.

Although retailers, marketers, and shoppers have many reasons to cancel Black Friday, for now, customers are still waking up before dawn and braving the crowds. Learn how to make the most of Black Friday at PostFunnel.

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Sarah Pritzker

Sarah Pritzker is a marketing pro, always paying attention to -- and then writing about -- the latest marketing strategy trends. Then again, she also loves writing about finance, genealogy, and graduate school admissions. And then there's diamonds, travel, and healthcare management. Oh, and fitness. And food. You get the idea.

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