The day after Thanksgiving has traditionally been a red letter day for American retailers, with economists and Wall Street analysts paying close attention to the day’s sales as a bellwether for the holiday shopping season.
But some industry experts, including Experian Marketing Services’ head of global research, Bill Tancer, think that changing market conditions could eventually bring about Black Friday’s demise. Bolstering their argument are surveys that show the number of shoppers that hit stores on Black Friday has been decreasing for years, Time notes.
A 2011 study found that 44% of consumers said they planned to go shopping on Black Friday. But that was lower than the 52% who indicated shopping plans for that day in 2009. Other surveys show that consumers are spending less when they do hit the malls on Black Friday.
Part of the reason for the decline is that the holiday shopping season has been getting longer with each year, starting as early as September. And retailers are increasingly offering better discounts on the days prior to Black Friday.
Still, Black Friday remains an important culture landmark for many shoppers. While it may be declining, as long as big retailers like Macy’s (M), Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY), Kohl’s (KSS) and JCPenney (JCP) are still willing to offer major Black Friday promotions, it is likely to remain a potent retail force for some time to come.