Wake up to a 6 a.m. alarm, make coffee, get bundled up and head to wait outside the mall until doors open — some might say this is what a typical day of holiday shopping looks like. However, in-store holiday shopping is on the decline among Americans, a new survey reports.
Just over half — 52 percent — of consumers said they are less likely to holiday shop on Black Friday in 2017 than in previous years, according to the 11th annual Holiday Shopping Survey from global management consulting firm Accenture.
The survey looked at adults across the nation to track people’s shopping patterns around the holiday season, specifically on Black Friday — a name coined by Philadelphia cops in the 1950’s to describe the chaos of people who came into the city to shop the day after Thanksgiving.
Almost two thirds of the people who said they weren’t planning to shop in-store on Black Friday said the reason was to avoid the crowds of people competing to get the best bargains.
Black Friday is now a nationwide day of holiday shopping. Many businesses start their holiday sales this day — or even earlier on Thanksgiving Day — hoping their extremely low prices draw in a large number of customers.
Dr. Joel Han, a professor of economics at Loyola, said businesses can typically decrease their prices because they expect to receive a high quantity of customers buying more than usual around the holidays.
“It’s a time when your average consumer is going to be buying a lot per visit,” Han said. “So, just trying to get them in the door with one cheap product, will probably lead to them buying a really big bundle of stuff.”
Liana Cotero, a 20-year-old sophomore, said she enjoys the Black Friday shopping experience and tries to go every year.
“I love the energy I get from everybody around,” the marketing major said. “There’s great bargains, so it’s a great time to go Christmas shopping.”
Caroline Woodmancy, a 18-year-old political science major, said she and her friends have a tradition of going Black Friday shopping every year.
“Me and my friends always go after Thanksgiving,” the first-year said. “This year is was special because we all got back from school, so it was the first time we all hung out.”
Woodmancy also said she shopped a bit on Cyber Monday, but still prefers to shop at stores in person.
Though it still ranks at the top of most charts as the number one day of in-store holiday shopping, from 2011 to 2017, Black Friday has seen a decrease in shoppers, according to retail analytics platform ShopperTrak. The popularity of online shopping might have something to do with this decrease, according to Accenture.
Cyber Monday — named in 2005 to describe the increase in online sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving — has taken over the shopping industry. It has become the number one day of online holiday shopping each year since 2010, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Almost half — 46 percent — of people surveyed by Accenture said they plan to do their holiday shopping online rather than going to malls or other traditional stores.
Han said the popularity of online shopping can be seen as a response to the competitive pressures for stores in regard to Black Friday. Specifically, this is in response to some stores opening really early on Friday morning, or even the evening on Thanksgiving Day.
One major department store, Macy’s, said it’s 2018 Black Friday sales started at 5 p.m. Thursday evening, and ended at 2 a.m. the next day. The store opened again just a few hours later at 6 a.m., according to a Macy’s Black Friday ad.
“The rise of online shopping is really interesting because it presents a downside to pushing your opening times too early, by making the experience of Black Friday shopping less comfortable, starting in the wee hours of the night,” Han said.
In 2017, Cyber Monday out-performed Black Friday by four million consumers — 81 million compared to 77 million —a report from the NRF found.
Online holiday shopping in 2018 is expected to rise 14 percentage points from last year, from $133 billion spent by U.S. consumers to $151 billion, according to Forrester Analytics.