participation in this year’s Black Friday looks like it may be the worst in history: according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,639 adults showed 63%, or nearly two-thirds, did not plan to shop on Black Friday this year. Some 32% said they plan to finish about half of their holiday shopping on that day. While selling tactics are certainly a factor, one wonders how much of decline in spending is due to lack of disposable income for the tapped out US consumer?
“The holiday season is expanding, and Black Friday is no longer the kickoff for the season,” said Natalie Kotlyar, who heads retail and consumer products at business advisory firm BDO Consumer, adding many start holiday shopping at Halloween, Labor Day or even Amazon’s Prime Day on July 12.
Still, retailers are not only not giving up but, as Reuters reports, are on the verge of panic, and have not only redoubled efforts this year to boost sales with familiar tactics but greater intensity, all of which assure even lower margins, but are rolling out the heavy artillery to draw in those consumers who will go out on Friday.
I’ve never understood Black Friday.
Some of it is cultural: I grew up around people who were not shoppers. The women purchased their Christmas items when they were not at work, the men waited until the very last minute, and I don’t recall stores in Puerto Rico doing Black Friday promotions. I’m not certain, but I don’t think stores in Latin America did then, either.
Another reason is that I have been shopping on line for years since, no matter where I live, I always have friends and relatives in other areas. Before the Internet, I shopped at stores that shipped.
The third reason is that, while I certainly like purchasing things, I hate shopping in stores, especially during Christmas season with the sensory overload of music-decorations-parking messes. When I shop in stores, my “inner guy” takes over: I decide ahead of time what it is I’ll get, go directly to find that item, pay, and leave.
And lastly, my gift wrapping skills are woefully non-existent. Thank goodness for colored tissue and decorative little bags.
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