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Is Black Friday as we knew it gone?


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#1 deanabrown  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 11:10 am

Black Friday was trending toward earlier and earlier deals with a heavier online presence, but I think COVID accelerated that timeline significantly.

I think the physical BF tradition of waiting in line and being out all night/day shopping is gone.

Your thoughts?

#2 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 11:36 am

COVID allowed retailers to extend the holiday shopping season from a month (BF to Christmas) to nearly 2 months long and to extend Black Friday from one or two days to anywhere from a week to an entire month. They won't want to give that back.

 

For many years stores would advertise "early Black Friday sales" in early November but they were never anything exciting and we never even bothered posting 95% of them on the site because they'd just be using the term "Black Friday" to trick people into thinking the deals were good.

 

But last year they were able to say "hey, these early sales are legit now - they are our actual BF sale split up over multiple weeks" and it has made these early sales much more interesting for us to follow as there way more actual deals in them than there used to be.

 

I think the best we can hope for is that these various sales continue throughout November but they save some big doorbusters for Black Friday to get people in the stores again once supply chains catch up and COVID (hopefully) becomes less of a concern.

 

And remember - you can still treat BF as the way it used to be - many stores are opening up at 5am - you can still shop all day and night if you want. You just won't have to because the deals will have been available previously in store and online.



#3 bigjimslade  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 11:42 am

I think anything in life everything changes and evolves due to society and technology.  

 

I do agree that waiting in line and BF camping is a thing of the past.  I also agree that things wont go back to normal as long as covid is here but we are getting back to a new normal soon.

 

Two things will have to happen.......

 

One......The people will have to demand that the retailers do more in store then online.  You can see this happening with the retail workers demanding the store remain closed on Thanksgiving and the store saying they will be closed on Thanksgiving.

 

Two...Doug McMillon in Bentonville and Brian Cornell in Minneapolis will have to come up with some creative ideas to get people back into the stores.  What will that look like?  Only offering certain items only in store, creating an in store event and other ways to bring in foot traffic.  

 

None of this can be done with the current supply chain issues that we have.  



#4 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 12:04 pm

You can see this happening with the retail workers demanding the store remain closed on Thanksgiving and the store saying they will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Exactly. At the very least, this transition served to end the practice of major stores being open on Thanksgiving Day which the majority here agree is a good thing.

 

Another thing that has changed is free shipping. We used to see a lot of big retailers (Best Buy, Target, etc.) with free shipping on all orders this time of year. But now with store pickup and curbside delivery being used much more widely, stores tend to push that as an option for those who don't want to pay for shipping.

 

Kohl's for example used to have free shipping on $25 or $50 this time of year but they haven't budged from their $75 minimum in years. With shipping and freight costs much higher, they can't make a profit shipping a $7 item for free.

 

Once supply chains and the pandemic are more under control, which could happen as soon as BF 2022, I think retailers will want to have their cake and eat it too. They'll still have big sales all November like they do now but they'll want to reclaim that huge spike of in-store sales revenue that Black Friday would always bring them, so they'll hopefully give shoppers a reason to show up bright and early on Friday morning. While online sales have skyrocketed, they are still a small piece of the pie compared to in-store sales.



#5 Kanyon71  ONLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 12:10 pm

Free shipping has gone the way of Memberships for the store.



#6 Bopeep  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 1:04 pm

"Is Black Friday as we knew it gone?" Yes. But it's been gone before and we adapted. I could wish BF was still what it was way back in 2005. But the world isn't what it was in 2005.  So every year when BF changes up on us yet again, we have to decide to make the most of it. It's still my favorite time of the year.

 

**And, YES, I agree it's a good thing they've decided to close Thanksgiving day again. May they never go back to THAT! :)



#7 Kash  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 2:12 pm

I think anything in life everything changes and evolves due to society and technology.

I do agree that waiting in line and BF camping is a thing of the past. I also agree that things wont go back to normal as long as covid is here but we are getting back to a new normal soon.

Two things will have to happen.......

One......The people will have to demand that the retailers do more in store then online. You can see this happening with the retail workers demanding the store remain closed on Thanksgiving and the store saying they will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Two...Doug McMillon in Bentonville and Brian Cornell in Minneapolis will have to come up with some creative ideas to get people back into the stores. What will that look like? Only offering certain items only in store, creating an in store event and other ways to bring in foot traffic.

None of this can be done with the current supply chain issues that we have.


Bigjimslade I know we don’t know each other. But I just noticed you posting again and thought it’s been awhile since I saw your name. Hope all is good with you and good to see you back!

#8 bribri25  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 2:36 pm

Definitely gone as we knew it. But, still evolving. I so miss making a plan and going to the stores early on Friday. However, I have also enjoyed shopping more online and spending less money because there's less deals

#9 jtitus2014  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 5, 2021 - 3:35 pm

I think Black Friday as we knew it is gone as well. It seems like most retailers were transitioning for most items being online before covid happened. Having four kids under 12 it was easier for me to go shopping on Thanksgiving night since my mom was off and could watch the kids. With most places being closed on Thanksgiving I would have to shop online even if it was for one big day versus how they are doing it now. I think the biggest hurtle we are going to overcome is being able to figure out what is the real Black Friday deals and whether or not we can get it cheaper later on. One thing I loved about years prior to covid is having all the ads within a week of Black Friday so I can figure out a game plan. This year I don't know whether to jump ship on sales now because we don't have all the ads but yet there are already Black Friday sales happening.



#10 jesusluvu  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 6, 2021 - 3:03 am

Yep, and it will never return the way it use to be. As long as profits are being made and big businesses can figure out a way to syphon money continuously rather than a few weekends than this will be the norm. I also do not think that the deals of the past will return. There maybe a few unicorns every year but ads where you would want to stand in line are not returning any time soon or ever. 



#11 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 6, 2021 - 8:37 pm

I think the physical BF tradition of waiting in line and being out all night/day shopping is gone.

 

I'm old enough to remember Black Friday before waiting in line and all night/day shopping.  For me, waiting in line and all night/day shopping has been an anomaly.  I never much got into it and don't miss it.  Of late, I have been doing most of my Christmas shopping online and haven't ventured out on Black Friday before daylight.  Still get what I want and save a lot of money, but no lines and no disappointments.

 

  *****  My personal history of Black Friday  *****

The day after Thanksgiving has been referred to as Black Friday since 1952, but I only remember it as it has been since the 1970s.  Back then, Christmas season began once the Sears Wish Book arrived in the mailbox.  Then there were television specials and commercials for things we didn't know we needed.  Then the parades -- the local crappy ones in our towns, the bigger ones in nearby communities, and the really big ones on TV.  All featuring Santa Claus and most sponsored by Macy's or some other retailer.  And then came the decorations.  My mother used to take us out for a ride in the car to look at all the lights.
 
Then Thanksgiving.  Christmas Club checks were issued the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Stores mailed out ads that week.  My mother ventured out on Friday to shop.  No lines.  No Doorbusters.  Just lots of sales.  
 
My father always bought our Big Gifts.  He carefully studied our interests all year then bought the perfect gift for each of us.  You could tell which gift that was by his interest in how much each one of us liked one particular gift.  His shopping was mostly done before Thanksgiving.  I'm kind of like my father.

 

My mother bought the rest.  She shopped the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Thanksgiving the the weekend before Christmas for the stuff that was marked down.  When I was older, I got to help and that was lots of fun.  I also got to help wrap -- lining up patterns and curling ribbons.  I still hate wrapping.  I'm kind of like my mother.
 
The term Doorbuster also predates my memory.  JC Penney used the term Door Buster in an ad in January of 1949.  In 1950 Newberry's ran an ad in the LA Times that used the single word Doorbuster.  My first awareness of the word and concept came with the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls in the 1980s.  I remember seeing a video on the local news of people pushing to get to the front of a crowd at the opening of a Walmart.  I could not believe people were lining up for a doll.  That's a doorbuster.
 
About the same time, I worked at a department store that had a bunch of us come in after dinner on Thanksgiving to get ready for Friday.  The manager left the lights on and the doors unlocked and people came into the store and shopped.  He was the 'cashier' and was surprised at how busy the store was.  We never locked the doors that night, so, I believe, that was the first store that was ever open on Thanksgiving and the earliest opened store on that particular Black Friday.  We got double time for our Thanksgiving hours and the store bought us breakfast, but the real reason we agreed to work on Thanksgiving was to get Friday morning off.
 
I have never camped out in front of a store and I never bought a TV on Black Friday.  But I know plenty who did.  I used to wait in line at Staples for computers, monitors, disks, discs, GPS's, and all the free-after-rebate things.  (I still have unopened DVDs.)  Twice, I waited in line at Kohl's mostly for digital picture frames.  Once I shopped with another person (my sister) which was fun, but slowed me down a lot and cost me a lot of money.  Last two times I ventured out were for cell phones -- four and seven years ago!  Both times, I simply walked into Walmart on my way home from Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws.
 
I still like to go out on Black Friday, but mostly to be part of the Christmas shopping. 
 
The first Cyber Monday came in 2005.  I have not ever really participated in these.  Now, of course most of the Cyber merchants have migrated to Black Friday.  Do they still do Cyber Monday?
 
Today, the deals come earlier and earlier.  Last year, I bought my Legends Ultimate Arcade on November 7th and two TCL Roku TVs on November 11th.  In both cases, I was waiting online for 'the doors to open' and snagged a 'doorbuster'.  It was exhilarating.  As exhilarating as it ever was.
 
This year, a lot of my friends are looking at televisions and computers.  If you go back to 2004, those were hot items then.  Today, they are bigger, faster, and cheaper.  People are still hoping for a deal on iCrap.  Probably DVDs still (I am).
 
I don't think Black Friday as we knew or remember it is gone.  I believe the hunt, the thrill, and the community are just the same.  Merchants have changed, online shopping is better, and the calendar is a little bent out of shape, but Black Friday is alive and well.  I would argue that the last twenty years have been an anomaly and that today's Christmas season is more like those of my childhood.

 

Happy shopping!



#12 cllehto  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 6, 2021 - 9:07 pm

Black Friday is different this year. I like being able to get good deals earlier and more ofter. It is hard to decide if the deals are really Black Friday deals. Everything has gone up so much this year that it's sometimes hard to spot the good deals.



#13 Rockfordmom  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 7, 2021 - 5:22 am

The 2 things I wanted from JC Penney's BF ad I was able to buy yesterday at their BF sale prices.  It beats having to stand in BF lines for 2 things & one store is checked off my list.



#14 Hubbalance  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 7, 2021 - 2:13 pm

I hope not. I hate shopping online. Its such a hassle. And you don't get the rush. I hate the sales being spread out of a month because its so hard to figure out the best prices, to get people to give me their lists early, to keep track of what is on sale when, to deal with out of stock items... BF used to be so easy and simple,



#15 mgreen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 7, 2021 - 9:00 pm

As I do most of my shopping online now, I do miss having breakfast with my sister then waiting in line with our hot chocolate.



#16 jesusluvu  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 8, 2021 - 8:02 am

The best thing about the new way is that you could actual be able to really enjoy the holidays. No more alte nights or early mornings in line or missing time to make memories. 



#17 Jasonlh1  ONLINE  

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Posted Nov 10, 2021 - 6:10 am

The golden years of black Friday are long gone. Thanks to the demise of fallen retailers. I miss Circuit City Compusa Tiger Direct Kmart Toys ru Office Max all those rebates.

#18 Brad  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 10, 2021 - 8:50 am

I was perusing the Walmart employee subreddit yesterday and it was nearly unanimous reports that the first Black Friday sale was a bust in stores. There were many photos of empty stores, reports of too many employees scheduled with nothing to do, lots of stock left over, overall store sales numbers down and zero buzz about the sale.

 

We'll see how the next sale goes this week but reports like that could make Walmart reconsider the multiple sales strategy for next year.



#19 stevierocks  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 10, 2021 - 8:59 am

i think that whole real black friday experience has been gone several years.. its not the same and changes have been happening even before covid. i still go out but nothing like 15+ years ago 



#20 Kanyon71  ONLINE  

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Posted Nov 10, 2021 - 11:50 am

i think that whole real black friday experience has been gone several years.. its not the same and changes have been happening even before covid. i still go out but nothing like 15+ years ago

I think if they go back to the single sale it could help again. :)

#21 Pnambic  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 11, 2021 - 10:02 am

I could be biased (OK, I'm definitely biased), but I think the difference is data. 

 

Store and companies have SO MUCH MORE data at their fingertips these days, logistics details, customer behavior data, etc.  I don't think anyone has the perfect answer, yet, but all of these companies are pouring far more into understanding this data and acting intelligently using it than ever before.  They're able to identify trends that make them more money (extending "Black Friday" deals to more people by extending days and making them available online) and identify trends that cause them to lose money (like maybe Walmart's first sale this year perhaps?).  40, 30, 20, heck 10 years ago, you had Sales and Marketing guys making their best guesses in meeting rooms and just hoping it would work.  After it was over, they had access to the big numbers and tried to infer what worked and what didn't based on anecdotal evidence.  But today, they have access to each product's performance in each store, by the minute.  They're getting smarter.

 

Customers also have SO MUCH MORE data at their fingertips.  We can check prices and reviews from our phones.  We can participate in great online communities like GottaDeal.  We can review sale ads before they're live and figure out where to get the best deal and when.  In the past, I think we were much more likely to see stores throw out a few massive "doorbuster" loss leaders in order to get customers in the door hoping they'd do the rest of their shopping in the store while they were there as fighting the crowds to check out and leave and get to another store and fight their way in was such a hassle.  With the change in customer buying behavior, stores have predictably changed their game plans to minimize losses (probably no real loss leaders anymore) and maximize revenue.  

 

I don't see stores going back to one day sales.  Sure, it was sometimes fun for the few customers who succeeded in getting that awesome limited deal, but it probably ended up in 10 times more customers disappointed in not getting the deal and taking their money elsewhere.  Stores are looking to find that perfect balance that gets them the most revenue without trimming the margin too much.  Its a tough target to hit, but when you look at the data, I think you'll see they're getting better and better each year.  I remember the last time I waited in line for a Black Friday doorbuster - Best Buy 2006.  I was the second to last person to score the awesome Panasonic Plasma HDTV I was on the hunt for.  There was a line of 30 or more people behind me that weren't so lucky.

 

There once was a neat little company called Woot! that basically tried a doorbuster every day mentality.  When they started, it was one item, started at midnight central time (as they were out of Richardson, TX IIRC), sold for a ridiculously low price, until they ran out.  Often times they sold out sometime during the day, sometimes within just a few hours.  They embraced a schtick of funny and irreverent product descriptions, limited purchases to 3 items per person, flat $5 shipping, built a bit of a cult following.  But they were struggling to find that balance between the excitement of limited product availability at low margin while still maximizing revenue.  Eventually, they were bought by Amazon and today the Woot site has hundreds of items on it.  They throw up a few new items each day, but most deals are available for weeks or months even.  They've pretty much abandoned the original business model - I suspect because it just wasn't optimized for maximizing revenue.  I think Amazon may have envisioned creating a digital version of the Black Friday doorbuster driven excitement and hoping the customer stuck around and bought other product while they were there, but the digital customer can switch to a competing store too easily.  But, its still going, so there must be some money in there somewhere.


Da-shiang bad-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!

#22 stewarta4  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 12, 2021 - 11:27 pm

I think it's safe to say yes it is. This will make my 3rd (I think) year not even going out shopping and doing it all online. Heck, I'm sitting at work right now even ordering some gift cards online for gifts...I definitely think sales being extended because of COVID sped the evolution of BF up. I'm not a fan of the "new way"...definitely miss the way it used to be and the memories made. Oh well, I guess everything evolves with time. 


` :holiday07  :holiday04  :holiday07


#23 vern28  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 13, 2021 - 7:26 am

I was perusing the Walmart employee subreddit yesterday and it was nearly unanimous reports that the first Black Friday sale was a bust in stores. There were many photos of empty stores, reports of too many employees scheduled with nothing to do, lots of stock left over, overall store sales numbers down and zero buzz about the sale.

We'll see how the next sale goes this week but reports like that could make Walmart reconsider the multiple sales strategy for next year.


When I showed up Friday at 515 I thought the lot was busy, but nope only one other person in the store and the person handing out tickets for the big items said it was the same thing for the first event. She was pretty disappointed. I told her the same thing you said...maybe walmart will rethink spreading the sales out for 3 events and bring back the one big sale.

Edited by vern28, Nov 13, 2021 - 7:29 am.


#24 mgreen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 14, 2021 - 2:30 pm

Now, I'm pretty much thinking it is. I bought one thing from kohl's on the 11th and I'm pretty much done. My sister and don't see anything else we want. The wm ad was a bust. All that's left is target and best buy. I'm not looking for any electronics. I'm bummed.

#25 mgreen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 14, 2021 - 2:35 pm

I might get the gift box from bath and body works and go to Ashley's and try to get the gift card, but that's about it at this point.

#26 deanabrown  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 15, 2021 - 5:08 am

I agree on Walmart. It seems like people are not buying and most of the black friday event items were still available as of Sunday morning. I was there for other things, but picked up a couple of movies. Those movies would have been long gone in years past.. Not much in the ad that was of interest to me. The store was a normal Sunday morning crowd, but people were doing regular weekly shopping.

I am torn whether it is shopper behavior or people just don't have the money to spend right now.

#27 nirvana4all  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 15, 2021 - 5:39 pm

I miss the big percent off, the massive charts of best deals, the camping out.  BUT...I do like the ability to shop weeks ahead.  I know things have moved on, but I still look for that "deal".


A computer can only be as smart as the person running it. :crash:

#28 jtitus2014  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 16, 2021 - 7:37 pm

I went this past Saturday night to Walmart to grab some stuff. They still had the Black Friday displays in middle of the floor for most items that was on sale for the first event. Barely anything from the 2nd event was touched. I did grab my son one of the Baby Yoda Bop It's that was with the $10 games. It rung up full price but they adjusted it to the $10.

#29 Ravenmaniac  OFFLINE  

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Posted Nov 17, 2021 - 6:23 pm

My issue in the past with Black Friday was that it fed the scalpers too much.  One of the things I actually liked, but most didn't was the "buttons" that JCPenny did about 4 or 5 years ago. Thiey honestly seem to be the only one to be trying for the "fun and suprises" side of Black Friday and holiday shopping. They are giving out a lot of small to medium prizes this year, making everyone think they "have a shot", and for those that like contests like I do, it could increase the shopping done at JCP.



#30 Jasonlh1  ONLINE  

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Posted Nov 18, 2021 - 5:02 pm

2021 has to be the worst Black Friday ever.




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