Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States and is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Essentially it is when stores in America open their doors to do battle in the run up to Christmas. It is regarded as the busiest shopping day of the year.
To kick off the Christmas shopping season many retailers hold massive sales promotions in order to get people through the doors early. This is mainly in the form of huge discounts on products which causes people to go mad with consumer excitement! Stores have been known to open their stores as early as midnight on Thanksgiving Eve and violence has also been known to break out among shoppers and staff as people hunt for the best savings and deals on this, the biggest shopping day in the US.
However a very interesting occurrence has been happening in recent years and that is the existence of Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the biggest shopping day of the year for US eCommerce sites. This is the Monday that immediately follows the Black Friday weekend of shopping. The theory is that people shop online more on Cyber Monday as they have either not found what they have been looking for during the Friday before or didn’t want to shop offline due to the discomfort of being caught up in the hysteria of Black Friday. The online audience still wants to start the shopping season at the same time as its offline counterpart. Cyber Monday has grown in popularity with sales increasing 18% last year to $1.735 Billion in desktop sales alone according to ComScore. Cyber Monday 2013 was the biggest day for online shopping in the US ever.
Because both of these days are massive shopping days for all types of retailers, the marketing campaigns in place are huge. It is safe to say that the offline retailer’s marketing is resonating through to an online audience as well.
The competition for Black Friday is massive.
Each retailer is trying to outdo their counterpart. They all offer bigger and bigger deals and are opening their stores earlier and earlier each year to try and get more customers shopping. This year, some retailers have launched “Pre-Black Friday” deals to get more customers over the line. It seems to have worked as well with Techcruch reporting that online sales are already up 19% on last year. An interesting stat is that mobile sales are up 23.9% on last year. The shopping period hasn’t already started and online sales are up 19%, so we can only wonder what things will look like by the time Black Friday comes followed closely by Cyber Monday.
For many retailers, Christmas is the “make or break” time of the year. The interesting fact between Ireland and the US is that the US launch the Christmas shopping period with a bigger bang, trying to make most of their money at the start of the period. In a sense, we do the complete opposite by launching our sales on St. Stephen’s Day. This is naturally a measure that Irish retailers take to try and extend the shopping period after Christmas.
It would be interesting to see how something like Black Friday would resonate here. Would it succeed or would Irish people reject it once we start rioting just to get our hands on a TV for half price?