Commentary

Bye-Bye Black Friday

BEEP BEEP BEEP…BEEP beep beep… ding ding ding. That’s the sound a chip reader makes when it’s done scanning your credit card. In the future, I predict we’re going to be hearing less of that repetitive sound. Late November into December marks shopping season, and this year, recently released Adobe data shows shoppers’ increasing preference towards online shopping. Cyber Monday and online shopping in general are slowly taking over the market for holiday spendings. In fact, Cyber Monday sales are reported to have increased around 17 percent since last year. Looks like it’s bye-bye, Black Friday.

I never understood why Cyber Monday was so close to Black Friday. I always thought that one of these days would drive the other to extinction. How many people want to go overboard with their spending on two days that are virtually consecutive? I initially believed that Cyber Monday would fail first, since Black Friday precedes Cyber Monday. I was wrong. The data shows it’s the other way around: less people are going to malls on Black Friday, and more people are choosing to shop online, and I’m not sure this is a bad thing.

I have never viewed Black Friday as a stellar shopping experience. I personally have no problem with Black Friday disappearing because sales will still be available through its more digital counterpart, Cyber Monday. In this day and age, I do not believe that in-store sales are going to drive commerce. Deals are offered everywhere, whether one chooses to shop online or in-store. Additionally, encouraging more online shopping will allow people to shop from a larger inventory. Most companies offer a wider selection of products on their websites than in their stores, and this comes without the hassle, long lines, and stress. Society has emphasized Black Friday as a day of “out-of-this-world” deals, but Cyber Monday deals are often just as worthy of attention.

I’ve found that Cyber Monday deals are, at many times, similar to those of Black Friday. For example, on Black Friday, I went to a Vineyard Vines store to find that everything was 25 percent off. On Cyber Monday, I saw a Vineyard Vines email saying everything online was 20 percent off, though shipping had to be paid. When shipping costs are included in the total cost, the price will definitely be higher, but, usually, not significantly. I believe that the current problem with Black Friday is that the deals online are too similar to the sales in-store, so there is no point in spending precious time and gas money traversing to stores. Why wait in long lines when I could just wait two days and shop from my couch? If brand name stores wish to preserve Black Friday, they should endeavor to create dramatically lower in-store costs than customers can find online.

Another reason that Black Friday is becoming dispensable is because there are an increasing number of early-bird shoppers. According to “Criteo,” the average amount of money spent shopping online on Thanksgiving was 180 dollars, essentially starting a “Black Thanksgiving” trend. Meanwhile, the average amount of money spent on e-commerce on Black Friday was only 168 dollars. People are no longer waiting until Black Friday to shop; they begin shopping on Thanksgiving. I predict that the gap between these numbers will continue to become more drastic in upcoming years, with Black Friday sales decreasing to the point where there it is not enough to distinguish the days.

Dec 8, 2017