How Black Friday bullied its way into Thanksgiving
Shoppers have only themselves to blame for earlier sale times at Wal-Mart and Target.
Why do they still call it Black Friday when more obsessed holiday shoppers are hitting stores on Thanksgiving Day? Because Black "Can't I Just Finish My Thanksgiving Pie In Peace?" takes up way too much space.
Wal-Mart (WMT) launched the latest strike in its war on Thanksgiving last month, when it announced that it would open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening to customers forming in-store lines for its most coveted discount products. For those who prize Thanksgiving traditions like dessert, digestion and tryptophan-induced slumber, that's a full two hours earlier than the store's 10 p.m. start last year.Ever the joiner, Toys R Us decided 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving would be a great time to open its doors for deals as well. What does this mean for retailers? Other than lines full of disgruntled folks in Tom Brady and Tim Tebow jerseys missing the Thanksgiving late game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, it'll be a holiday feast greater than anything its customers will be missing the last course of.
The top brass at Target (TGT) didn't push that retailer's doorbuster start time from midnight last year to 9 p.m. this year just for personal amusement. According to the National Retail Federation, 28.7 million people did their Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day last year. That's still less than a third of the roughly 86 million shoppers who took to stores on Black Friday itself, but it's still up from the 22 million who took time from their turkey or Tofurkey dinners to go bargain hunting on Thanksgiving 2010.
They didn't have to bundle up and huddle outside of big-box stores to do so, either. Market research firm ComScore (SCOR) found that online spending on Thanksgiving Day rose 18% in 2011 to $479 million from $407 million a year earlier. Sure, lots of that traffic was Amazon shoppers who didn't really have a brick-and-mortar option, but ComScore's Thanksgiving and Black Friday Top Five also included Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target, who wooed overstuffed Thanksgiving shoppers with deals they could access from devices balanced on their swollen stomachs.
But do retailers' Thanksgiving intrusions really increase sales, or just pull them from some softer part of the Black Friday weekend schedule? The NRF sees an overall gain, with its count of store traffic from Thanksgiving through the end of Black Friday weekend rising from 212 million shoppers in 2010 to 226 million last year. The nearly 7 million more people in stores on Thanksgiving helped, but about the same number joined the ranks for the rest of the stretch.
They didn't exactly shy away from online orders for the rest of the holiday season either. ComScore saw a 16% increase on Thanksgiving weekend overall in 2011, including a 26% spike in Black Friday shopping. While that 18% bump in Thanksgiving Day spending is impressive, it still trails both the growth and haul of Cyber Monday (up 22% in 2011 to $1.25 billion) and Green Monday (up 19% to $1.13 billion) and doesn't come close to the $1.1 billion spent on Free Shipping Day.
As long as retailers are taking increasingly larger bites of holiday spending by starting their Black Friday sales earlier on Thanksgiving night, consumers will continue to be tempted into taking that last cup of pudding or slice of pumpkin pie to go.
X-mass is next 24-7 Wal-Mart. In Europe the people know how to relax on a holiday. All shops are closed to give employees family time.
Why make such a big deal over Black Friday ? I just ignore it and I seem none the worse for it.....
HOW ABOUT SOMETHING REALLY REALLY REALLY SPECIAL FOR THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?
Let's ALL ask Congress to cooperate and DO THEIR JOB or don barrels and leave the country!!!
I think whatever kind of shopping you think you need to do on Thanksgiving can wait. With the economy the way it is, the stores aren't gonna' run out of "stuff". The one holiday we had left that had to do just with family and not about "how much money can you spend?' and the merchants are trying to jam that up too. I think they can jam it, just sayin'.
Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works.
Of all the holidays, including Christmas, this was THE family holiday. Now because of GREED and ignorance another big holiday is probably going down the tubes. If people could just control themselves and not shop for whatever few bargains, it would go a long way to everybody just having a nice day together.
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All hail the bull market, which ended the week with a big rally. But it also is starting to look a little like 1987, which suffered an epic blow-out.
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