If you’re anything like me, you’re going to wake up on the Thanksgiving day, switch on the telly and watch the annual ritual of Macy’s Thanksgiving day Parade (amid grumbles from the significant other to the real thanksgiving tradition of watching football) and get started on the turkey. Thereafter, you’ll enjoy an incredible day feasting on everything pumpkin-flavored with family and friends, reminiscing about old times and making new memories… after which, you will fall asleep on the couch and miss out on all of the fun (and exciting family drama).
This scenario maybe for many, but not all; because this year, retailers just don’t believe that one day of chaotic shopping is enough, and are extending their Black Friday into Thanksgiving. That’s right – This year thanksgiving has a new alter ego, and it’s Black Thursday.
As many as six major retailers – Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, K-Mart and BonTon, to be precise – have confirmed Thanksgiving Day hours of operation. Whether this will help the stores by offering a deal quicker than others, or hurt them by consumers’ disgust at the disregard for the holiday, we don’t know.
What we do know is that the tradition of Black Friday shopping has changed tremendously over the years, in part due to the rise of technology and online shopping. Less people are shopping in stores, and more are hopping on the internet; and with Thanksgiving being less than a month away from Christmas this year, we can only assume that this shift to online and mobile shopping will increase, given the shorter holiday shopping season. This concept has pressured retailers into opening their doors earlier to beat out the competition, no matter what kind of family holiday it may be.
Here’s a glimpse of some Black Friday statistics over the past couple of years:
- The overall in-store sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday rose 2.3 % from 2012 to 2013, resulting in $12.3 billion (source: CNN Money).
- The overall online sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday rose 18.5 % from 2012 to 2013, to $1,964 (source: TechCrunch).
- A study that examined mobile shopping activity across 20 retailers during Thanksgiving and Black Friday found that total mobile visits increased by 93 % (source: CMO.com).
- Also, mobile sales reached 21.8 % of total online sales in 2013 – an increase of nearly 43 % from 2012 (source: TechCrunch).
- As mobile pay is on the rise, PayPal reported a 121 % increase in global mobile payments in 2013, compared to the year before (source: TechCrunch).
- Even before its final round of deals kicked in at Walmart on the morning of Black Friday 2013, the retailer announced that sales had exceeded last year’s record-breaking results with 10 million transactions completed between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving (source: CMO.com).
- In addition to that big sales surge at the end of the Thanksgiving week, Cyber Monday sales peaked between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, with sales in that hour alone totaling $150 million (source: CMO.com).
It has been reported that four major chain stores — Dillard’s, Burlington, REI, American Girl — will stay closed on Thanksgiving Day. It is only a matter of time to see which other retailers will follow suit and either keep their doors closed for the holiday, or open them up for the early birds.
Many different outlets are reporting some predictions for this year’s Black Friday; some of these predictions include:
- Best Deals: Online prices are expected to be lowest on Thanksgiving Day with an average discount of 24%. The largest single-day drop in prices (5%) will occur from Sunday to Monday before Thanksgiving. Online prices are expected to increase on Tuesday after Cyber Monday. In-store prices are expected to match online prices except for specific in-store promotions on Black Friday and inventory clearance offers close to the holidays. Out-of-stock messages will increase five-fold on Cyber Monday due to increased demand and limited supply.
- Online Spending: November and December will drive more than 27% of the total annual online sales for U.S. retailers. In total, online holiday shopping is expected to increase 10% year-over-year. The average U.S. consumer will spend a total of $248 online over the same period, with $8 on Cyber Monday, the largest online shopping day of the year.
- Mobile: Thirty-one % of all online sales ($418 million) will be generated via smartphones and tablets on Thanksgiving day this year, up from 21 % last year and a new mobile share record. Mobile devices will also drive a significant share of sales on Black Friday (26 % or $644 million) and Cyber Monday (20 % or $520 million).
- Top Gifts: Social media buzz is expected to be an early indicator for top gifts. iPhone 6/6+ is leading social media mentions for mobile phones. PlayStation 4 tops Xbox One, Roku leads over-the-top devices, and “Call of Duty” comes out on top for video games. Fitbit is the most talked about wearable device while Sony and Samsung are the most discussed brands for 4K TVs. For kids, Lego, Nintendo DS and dolls from Disney’s movie Frozen are driving strong social media mentions.
- Top Retailers: Amazon, eBay, Target, Walmart and the Gap are the most talked about retailers across social networks. Amazon is beating eBay, Gap edges out H&M while Target wins against Walmart. Twenty % of Amazon’s social buzz originates from California while 35 % of eBay mentions come from New York. Both New York and California contribute 13 % of social media buzz for Target.
- Social Media: 2 % of purchases will come directly from social media sites including Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter, which is flat compared to last year. Social continues to play a significant role earlier in the purchasing journey. According to an Adobe survey of more than 400 U.S. consumers, only 25 % of them will consult social media to help them make holiday purchase decisions while 40 % of 18 to 34 year olds are likely to check social networks for gift ideas.
What’s your plan this Thanksgiving? Will you be out deal hunting or spending time with the family?