Black Friday did not see the success this past weekend that it did in recent years.
According to the research firm ShopperTrak, sales on Black Friday decreased 10 percent this year, hauling in a total of $10.4 billion as opposed to last year’s $11.6 billion.
While also noting that Cyber Monday and online shopping contributed to the decline in Black Friday sales, Eric Allegro, a fifth-semester economics and philosophy double major at UConn, thinks that the greed of major corporations is in part to blame.
“I think it’s a mix of a lot of big stores overreaching and trying to make Black Friday into a week or a month long thing, with a lot of mediocre deals and sales instead of one night of great sales,” Allegro said. “This spread out the amount that people bought over a longer period instead of it all being on Friday.”
Thanksgiving Day sales, totaling $1.8 billion, also slumped by 10 percent.
The Guardian writes that other reasons for a less-robust Black Friday are tied mostly to online shopping, which went up by 14.3 percent compared to last year’s Black Friday. It is also possible that there was a “social backlash” to shopping on Thanksgiving.
Robin Coulter, a professor at UConn and head of the marketing department within the School of Business, offered her perspective on this year’s Black Friday. Coulter echoed the idea that some find it objectionable to shop on Thanksgiving, while adding that there are a variety of reasons for people to shop online over a “brick and mortar store.”
“They (customers) can get great deals/discounts online. Customers who have bought before at a particular e-tailer are now receiving email notifications about promotions for online ‘deals/discounts’ starting earlier in the week of Thanksgiving,” Coulter said. “Amazon, for example, lets you shop at one ‘location’ with access to a broad array of product categories – so, in contrast to an ‘in-store’ shopping perspective for various products, Amazon means that you don't have to go to Barnes & Noble for a book, and then to Fye for a DVD and then to CVS for vitamins.”
“For some, it is a matter of convenience/time shopping online. If you shop online, you don't have to drive (save money on gas, though this year gas prices are lower), time looking for a parking space and wait in lines for checkout,” Coulter continued. “For some, online is a more ‘civilized’ shopping experience, you don't have to ‘fight’ to get in the door at the store, or be worried about getting trampled by other ‘less civilized’ shoppers.”
There are sometimes extenuating circumstances that lead to lessened sales as well. Take Chicago, for example, a city that has seen widespread protests of police murders of black civilians. Activists used Black Friday to call attention to their cause, as a result significantly driving sales down. Retailers on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile faced a total sales sum between 25 percent and 50 percent below projections, with protestors and police blocking people from entering stores and greatly inhibiting foot traffic.
Cyber Monday sales, on the other hand, were stout. This year’s Cyber Monday defied expectations and set the record for sales by garnering $3 billion in revenue. This year’s total – $3.07 billion – was 16 percent more than last year’s. The five days beginning on and following Thanksgiving saw a total of $11.11 billion, which is 17 percent more than last year’s $10.85 billion during that time. The $799 million in sales from smart phones or tablets also set a record.
Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org.