While Black Friday is typically the day when stores see a flurry of activity as shoppers rush to the store, competiting for top-selling items, some even camping out overnight to be first in line when the doors open, things are beginning to change.
Many stores that once opened its doors as early as 4 am are feeling the crunch as the pajama-wearing, coffee-drinking crowd now shops from the comfort of home instead of dragging themselves out to the stores. People still get the same great deals on the latest iPad, Playstation, and toys but they don’t have to fight the crowds to do it.
So, what’s changed? Why are people staying home on Black Friday? The trend to online shopping is taking a bite out of the brick and mortar sales. Last year Black Friday sales at brick and mortar sites saw a decline of 5 percent for the two days while online sales spiked by. In fact, the online sales surpassed an all-time high of $3 billion. This year the trend is going in the same direction with more online sales expected.
According to research conducted by PwC, only
19% of shoppers will do all of their holiday shopping in the store this year. Almost 30 % will do most of their shopping online and the other 30% will do a combination of in-store and online shopping on Black Friday.
Another survey stated that only
40% of shoppers would make it to the stores this year on Black Friday.
This should come as no surprise as Cyber Monday increased its online sales last year by 12%. People are finding the convenience of online shopping. Amazon is the main online retailer that benefits from the online trend with over 80% of people reporting they will shop on Amazon this year. This is up from last year’s number of 74%.
As the foot traffic dies down during holiday shopping, stores are opting to close on Thanksgiving day, as well. People aren’t too fond of stores being open on Thanksgiving anyway. Only 16% like stores open on Thanksgiving Day. Over half (58%) of Americans don’t want stores to be open on Thanksgiving and 26 % don’t care either way.
Since sales are going down on Black Friday, there’s little reason to open the doors on Thanksgiving Day. So, many stores are weighing the cost of staying open and coming up short. This year 75 stores are expected to close their doors on Thanksgiving. However, some of the larger retailers such as Wal-mart will continue to host their Thanksgiving night sales.
With the convenience of online shopping, brick and mortar stores will have to ramp up their marketing strategy to stay competitive. They’ll need to focus on the atmosphere and experience of being in the store or offer special giveaways for showing up. It’s going to take some new ways of thinking if they expect to win shoppers over from the comfort of their smartphones, where purchasing that awesome gift is just a click away.