Is Black Friday relevant?

When did you see your first holiday ad this year? And hear that first Christmas jingle on TV?  

PayPal data indicates that September 30th is the start of the holiday shopping season. That means the season will already be in full swing by the time Black Friday rolls around.  Do you know that nearly one-third of shoppers started buying for the holiday early, while only one-quarter are waiting for Black Friday?

Another factor is the impact Cyber Monday will have on Black Friday. Cyber Monday is arguably the summit of the shopping season. PayPal expects more than $25,000 in Total Payment Volume (TPV) per second at the peak of Cyber Monday, with a formidable 40% of millennials planning to shop on a mobile device that day.

Something else to consider is that more people are feeling charitable, #GIVING TUESDAY, with 62% of Americans planning to donate money this holiday season. Estimates indicate that 2016 will be the biggest year yet for charitable giving. Three in five Americans plan to donate to charity with an average donation amount of $259

So all said, I don’t think it should be called “Black Friday” -- it should be called “Grey November.”  And here are more reasons why:

Store traffic:

September to October foot traffic in the country's major department stores was down 7 percent this year from the same period in 2015.

Department store receipts were down 7.3 percent over the year through October.

Sales from general merchandise stores were down 2.3 percent from October 2015 to October 2016.

All the while, nonstore retailers – a category that includes online shopping outlets – gained 12.9 percent over the past year according to the Census Bureau’s Retail Report.

Shopping from a mobile device has risen:

4 out of 5 customers use phones to shop.

2.1 billion people used mobile devices world wide in 2016, and this figure is estimated to go up to 2.8 billion in 2020.

Online buying is high as well:

Holidays are stressful and many people indulge in a bit of online retail therapy.  According to research from Retail Me Not, nearly one in five people turn to shopping or buying themselves a gift online.

Are deals better on Black Friday than other day?: Not really. Here’s why:

Only 1% of deals are worthwhile.

Most of the items on sale are older items.

 Price inflation has occurred: items were discounted lower earlier in the month, and are now higher.

Items that WILL be a good deal on Black Friday are TVs and Apple products.

And if you thought that the election will affect Black Friday, the answer is no.

What are retailers’ expectations for Black Friday? Low.  For them, anything above this low expectation will be seen as a good thing, but be forewarned, expectations are LOW.