Black Friday: The Day Wallets Tremble
Black Friday – a Humorous Look
The Day Wallets Tremble and E-Commerce Refresh Buttons Weep
Ah, Black Friday, the most paradoxical holiday of the year! It’s the day when our Thanksgiving gratitude for what we have transforms into a frenzied grab for what we don’t. Black Friday, the sacred day when your bank account looks at you and says, “Really? Again?”
What Black Friday Is (And What It’s Definitely Not)
First off, let’s clear up a common misconception. Black Friday is not a government conspiracy to see how fast people can transition from being thankful to outright greedy. Nor is it a day to honor the dark arts, although some of the sale tactics used might suggest otherwise.
Black Friday is the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. It’s the day when retailers slash prices to lure in customers. Many of these folks have been camping outside since they digested their last bite of Thanksgiving turkey. It’s the day when the term “doorbuster” is taken quite literally. Additionally, this day where the line between a shopping spree and a rugby scrum is remarkably thin.
Why is it called Black Friday?
The term “Black Friday” was first coined by the police in Philadelphia in the 1950s. It has nothing to do with races. It was used to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving. Hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. The Philadelphia police used the term to describe the traffic jams, crowded sidewalks, and general mayhem that they had to manage on that day.
The term “Black Friday” in this context had nothing to do with shopping sales originally. It was more about the overwhelming crowds and traffic issues. However, retailers in Philadelphia soon saw an opportunity to capitalize on the increased number of people in the city. They then started promoting big sales to draw even more people to their stores.
By the 1980s, the term had lost its negative connotations and was redefined by retailers as the day that their businesses went from being “in the red” (operating at a loss) to “in the black” (making a profit), thanks to the start of the holiday shopping season. This explanation, though, is more of a convenient reinterpretation than the actual origin of the term. The idea is that after an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”), stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving because holiday shoppers spent so much money on discounted merchandise.
Retailers on the Front Lines
Speaking of retailers, have you ever wondered which ones are the busiest? Let’s just say if you thought about Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, you’d be right on the money. Or, rather, right where the money is being frantically spent. These stores become less like shopping destinations and more like survival of the fittest arenas.
Which retailers are the busiest on Black Friday?
Black Friday has a significant impact on various retailers, especially those in the consumer electronics, home goods, and fashion sectors. The most affected retailers typically include:
- Big-Box Retailers: Companies like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy often see the most significant impact from Black Friday. These stores usually offer deep discounts on a wide range of products, from electronics to home appliances, attracting large crowds.
- Consumer Electronics Stores: Retailers specializing in electronics, such as Best Buy, are heavily impacted due to the high demand for discounted TVs, smartphones, gaming consoles, and other gadgets during Black Friday sales.
- Online Retailers: Amazon, for example, is greatly affected by Black Friday. However, its influence extends into Cyber Monday and the entire Thanksgiving week. Online retailers often start their Black Friday deals early and extend them beyond the Friday itself.
- Fashion Retailers: Clothing and accessory stores, including both high-end and more affordable brands, also see a significant uptick in sales. Retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, H&M, and Zara offer considerable discounts on clothing, shoes, and accessories.
- Home Goods and Furniture Stores: Companies like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and IKEA often see increased activity as consumers look for deals on home improvement items, furniture, and appliances.
- Toy Retailers: With the holiday season around the corner, toy stores and departments within larger retail stores see a surge in sales as parents and family members shop for children’s gifts.
- Specialty Stores: Retailers specializing in specific product categories, such as cosmetics (Sephora, Ulta), sporting goods (Dick’s Sporting Goods), or books (Barnes & Noble), also experience a significant boost.
What is the impact?
The impact of Black Friday on these retailers is not just in terms of increased sales but also in logistics and operations. Retailers have to manage increased inventory. They prepare for higher foot traffic in stores. They they optimize their online platforms for increased web traffic, and ensure customer service can handle the influx of inquiries and purchases. Additionally, Black Friday has evolved to become more than just a one-day event, with many retailers offering deals throughout the week or month, further extending its impact.
Why Not Just Shop on Amazon?
Now, you might be wondering, “Why don’t I just shop on Amazon and avoid the chaos?” Well, where’s the fun in that? Shopping online in your pajamas with a cup of hot cocoa might be convenient, but it lacks the adrenaline rush of dodging shopping carts and playing tug-of-war with the last discounted toaster.
Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: A Tale of Two Sales
Then there’s Cyber Monday, Black Friday’s more relaxed, tech-savvy cousin. The difference? Black Friday is where you physically fight for deals, and Cyber Monday is where you virtually wrestle with website crashes. One has you braving the cold and crowds, and the other has you constantly refreshing your browser and questioning your internet speed.
Is Cyber Monday Amazon’s Black Friday?
Cyber Monday is indeed one of the busiest shopping days of the year for Amazon, often recording exceptionally high sales. This event, which falls on the Monday following Thanksgiving in the United States, has become synonymous with online shopping deals and discounts.
For Amazon, which is predominantly an online retailer, Cyber Monday presents an opportunity to capitalize on the increased consumer interest in online shopping. The company typically offers a wide range of deals across various product categories, making it a highly anticipated shopping day for consumers looking to take advantage of online sales.
Several factors contribute to Cyber Monday’s significance for Amazon:
Wide Range of Deals:
Amazon offers extensive discounts on a vast array of products, from electronics and gadgets to clothing and home goods, attracting a large customer base.
As a global online retailer, Amazon can attract customers from around the world on Cyber Monday, unlike traditional brick-and-mortar retailers whose Black Friday sales are more geographically limited.
Convenience of Online Shopping:
The ease of shopping online without the need to physically visit a store appeals to many customers, particularly in the context of the busy holiday season.
Marketing and Hype:
Amazon invests significantly in marketing and promoting Cyber Monday deals. This creates a buzz that drives traffic and sales.
Extended Sale Periods:
Amazon often extends its Cyber Monday deals beyond just one day. They offer a Cyber Week of deals, which helps to sustain high sales volumes.
While exact sales figures can vary year to year, Cyber Monday consistently ranks as one of the top sales days for Amazon. It’s worth noting that in recent years, other major online shopping days, such as Amazon’s own Prime Day, have also generated significant sales, indicating that while Cyber Monday is exceptionally busy, it’s part of a broader trend of major online shopping events throughout the year.
Black Friday: A Love-Hate Relationship
In the end, Black Friday is a day of contradictions. We love the deals but hate the crowds. We cherish finding the perfect gift but loathe the battle scars earned in the electronics aisle. It’s the day when “shop till you drop” isn’t just a saying – it’s a warning.
So, as we gear up for another Black Friday, remember: it’s not just about the discounts or the rush. It’s about the stories you’ll have, like that time you wrestled a grandma for a half-priced blender or the epic journey you embarked on to find a parking spot. Happy shopping, and may the sales be ever in your favor!
Myself, you will NEVER catch me camping out overnight to shop anywhere, Black Friday or not.