'Black Friday' Keeps Getting Longer, and That Might Not Be a Good Thing For Retailers
Black Friday is almost here – the day stores used to target as the start of the holiday shopping season. Now, they start holiday marketing and slashed prices as early as late October: It seems retailers have been marketing products with “Black Friday prices” or “doorbusters” since Halloween. KUT’s Jimmy Maas looks at what seems to be retail’s longest day: Black Friday.
The day gets its name from the traditional day marking the start the holiday shopping season, when retailers would get their financial books in the black for the year.
But, what is Black Friday when every day is Black Friday?
“It’s more of a buzzword than anything else. We’ve all been classically conditioned so that when we hear the term Black Friday, we automatically think ‘deal.’ Whether it’s in July or whether it’s November, it means deal to us, and we’ve been conditioned,” says Marketing Professor Darrin Duber-Smith of Metropolitan State University in Denver.
He says a longer Black Friday doesn’t necessarily translate into more sales.
“People have a budget,” he says. “You’re only going to spend so much on grandma, you’re only going to spend so much on your parents or so much on your kids. So the idea that the sales are not happening later, but earlier...it’s sort of a planned cannibalization...because you have to be where the consumer is – and right now, that’s everywhere.”
Professor Deborah Fowler of retail management at Texas Tech University says Black Friday is still important to retailers, but it may be losing its steam with consumers.
“I talk about in my trends class, pendulum swings, and everything swings with a pendulum. You go one extreme, and then you back off. I think we’re at the extreme on Black Friday.”
And, Duber-Smith says, the day may be losing its meaning with retailers as well.
“This might be a good season for revenue, but it’s a terrible season for profits, because of the sales promotions, because of the deals. It’s kinda become a mess in my opinion, but I don’t think it’s going away any time soon.”