Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in America, and maybe not just America. It’s become a sales holiday for retailers all over the world, and it’s important because it’s an indication of how large vendors will perform during the next quarter. What we’ve seen recently is that Black Friday doesn’t seem to be as big a deal as it used to be. In 2013 there were large protests and violence at various locations, which have been attributed to a lot of the pushback that’s happened. So now we’re seeing a couple of things happen: We’re seeing that Black Friday is slowly being pushed out by Cyber Monday, so those two sales ‘holidays’ will often happen within the same week so online sales are becoming more important to retailers. And we’re seeing other types of sales, like Small Business Saturday which leads up to Black Friday, pop up as well.

What are some statistics that describe the state of Black Friday?

The National Retail Federation said that there were 133 million people who shopped on Black Friday in 2014, which is about 1/3 of the US population. On the other side, there were 50 million people who reported staying home and avoiding it completely. So if you look at that dropout rate, only 22% of adults went to a physical location on Black Friday last year, which means 78% did not. With those numbers, it’s pretty clear that Cyber Monday has become just as important as Black Friday. The other interesting statistic is the amount of money people spent on average: In 2013, a family of four was expected to spend about $423 for Black Friday weekend.

What are some reasons why retailers used to participate in Black Friday?

It used to be that retailers would start discounting things as early as the beginning of November and Black Friday is just the day when most of those discounts started and were available to shoppers. It was a way for them to kick off the holiday season and push their products in front of consumers who were getting ready to shop around Christmas time. This became more important during recent years, as consumers began to spread their spending throughout the season. So Black Friday has become a major indicator of how businesses will do during the next quarter based on holiday sales.

What are some reasons why people are starting to avoid Black Friday?

The biggest reason is probably price transparency online – consumers are seeing exactly what prices are available everywhere before they go to a store. That’s one reason why online sales are growing so much on Cyber Monday – that whole price transparency thing is shifting some of the action more towards the web. People are also more aware of their spending patterns these days, and probably do not want to go out on Black Friday because they just had 2-3 months of holiday shopping and don’t want to spend any more money.

Are there other indicators that suggest the end of Black Friday?

Well, one thing is that some retailers didn’t even participate in it last year. Nordstrom and Macy’s both experimented with not opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day, which was a move to make sure employees still had time to be with their families (and also see how that would hurt sales, or not). That was another example of Black Friday losing some of its strength.

What are the implications if Black Friday is actually declining?

The implication is that retailers will need to shift some of their focus to other days in order to drive holiday sales. One reason why it’s losing effectiveness is because it’s starting to cannibalize itself. If Black Friday has the lowest prices of the year, then there are no other ‘low’ sales during this time period – so why go out on another day if you don’t have to? It would also imply that retailers are encouraging customers to buy online because they’re afraid of terrorist activities and the general lack of security around this day.

What are some other ways retailers can stimulate sales?

Retailers should focus more on building a strong base by focusing on customer service and making sure that their supply chains are set up in such a way that they can fulfill online orders quickly and cheaply, while also having inventory in local stores to service walk-in customers. They also need to focus on that holiday season in general, since that is when most of their yearly sales are made – so they need to make sure people are actually getting excited about the holidays and buying gifts for family members.

What can consumers do?

If you want retailers to help stimulate online shopping, then you should support them by actually buying things online. We’re seeing that more people are shopping on mobile devices these days, so retailers will need to have a strong web presence in order for consumers to check out their products during the next holiday season.

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