Why The Drop in Black Friday Spending This Year?
The Black Friday decline can be attributed to the economy improving and the changing shopping habits of consumers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) statistics there was an 11% drop in Black Friday spending in 2014. A survey conducted by the NRF for the Thanksgiving weekend indicated that 55.1% of holiday shoppers were expected to visit stores or shop online over the Thanksgiving weekend. Those numbers are down from last year’s 58.7%. The survey reports that the average Black Friday weekend shopper was expected to spend $380.95, down 6.4% from $407.02 last year. Total spending was expected to reach $50.9 million, down from 2013’s estimate of $54.4 billion.
What caused the drop?
There are several reasons for the decline in shoppers and spending this year. Proper Insight and Analytics surveyed 4,631 consumers (with a margin of error of 1.5%). Their data showed that large retailers added new commercial shopping holidays, such as Gray Thursday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, making it possible for shoppers to have more days to shop the holiday sales. This pulled some of the shopping crowds away from Black Friday.
A large percentage of shoppers surveyed said they specifically wanted to shop “Small Business Saturday” (with some cities calling this “Small Boxes Saturday”), a trend with consumers to spend their money in small businesses and to shop local. This pulled numbers and money away from the big box stores.
The decline in Black Friday shopping is the second annual drop in a row. This decline can be attributed, in part, to retailers changing-up the pre-holiday sales days. Target Corporation began its Black Friday sales on November 10th. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. began its holiday promotions on November 1st. Shoppers now have multiple days to shop for the holidays. Black Friday has morphed into several consumer sale days and shoppers don’t have to miss out by not shopping on Black Friday, according to Elissa Margols, senior vice-president of Disney Store North America at Walt Disney Co. The company has 200 stores in the USA and began promoting online and in-store sales the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Brick-and-mortar retailers increased Web deals with promotions that included free shipping, price-matching online rivals (Such as Amazon.com Inc.) and rolling sales.
Retail trade goups said the number of people shopping over the four day weekend declined 5.2% from last year to 134 million. They suggest that even with improvements in the economy, decreasing joblessness, a rebounding housing market, and two quarters of strong economic growth, many consumers are being cautious and thrifty five years after the recession. Consumers are researching their purchases on the Web for best prices and have limited their impulse buying.
Loss of Enthusiasm
“The Thrill is Gone” for Black Friday shopping according to the Wall Street Journal. Data for Thanksgiving Thursday through Sunday for holiday shopping over the past 8 years was collected by the National Retail Federation. Statistics show that the average amount each shopper spent online in total on this weekend from 2006 to 2014 has declined each year from 2012 to 2014. However, 2009 was year of the lowest point in money spent by consumers. That was the height of the recession. There was a steady rise in sales from 2009 to 2012 until 2014 became the new low point.