Thanksgiving Thursday is replacing Black Friday. That’s because retailers, both online and at traditional brick and mortar stores, in an effort to increase their holiday sales, keep pushing for the start of the holiday buying season to begin earlier and earlier. This year, it’s Thanksgiving Thursday; how early will it be next year, and the year after that?
Even now, many big retail chains of stores, such as Wal-Mart, are advertising Christmas sales and are playing Christmas music over their loudspeakers in an attempt to get consumers in the holiday buying mood.
For better or worse, Black Friday is becoming a thing of the past. Other chains of stores which will start the holiday buying season on Thanksgiving Thursday include Kohl’s, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney’s.
On Friday, a month earlier than last year, Wal-Mart will begin advertising holiday online promotions.
All of these attempts to start the holiday buying season early spring from a desire by retailers to not get beaten out by their competitors, and also to put their yearly sales figures in the black as soon as possible.
That’s where, of course, the term “Black Friday” came from — it’s traditionally been the day after Thanksgiving, when retailers hoped that their year up until then would begin to turn around from being an unprofitable one, one in the red, to one that would be in the black, that is,one that would be profitable.
This trend has been going on at least as early as 2010. That was when Sears become the first giant retail chain to open on Thanksgiving Thursday. Then, in 2011, Wal-Mart followed suit, moving Black Friday to Thursday, and Target did the same in 2012.
Besides the desire of stores to recoup their losses from the rest of the year and to be competitive with other chains which have moved the holiday shopping season up a day, they are also competing against Cyber Monday.
With more and more consumers saying that they will do much of their holiday shopping online on the Monday following Thanksgiving, retail stores want to attract as many people into their stores to buy holiday gifts as early as possible.
Still, many holiday shoppers are reluctant to leave their nice warm homes and promises of delectable Thanksgiving meals and spending time with their friends and familes to go shopping a day early. Black Friday is expected to remian, for this year, anyway, the busiest shopping day in terms of sales — but, that might change soon.
According to the National Retail Foundation, sales are expected to be down this year, as 80 percent of consumers have claimed that they will spend less this year on holiday shopping. News like that make the retail giants nervous, and even more anxious to try to get as many dollars as they can from consumers as soon as they can; though, overall, the foundation believes there might be a marginal increase in sales, or 3.9 percent.
Retailers are at risk, however, of being overstaffed if they begin to start the holiday buying season too early, and if buyers come in their stores to purchase gifts either too soon or late in the season, there could be valleys in the middle where sales are down.
Though consumers express their disapproval of the holiday season being pushed earlier, to Thanksgiving Thursday, and employees complain, saying they don’t want to be away from their families on Thanksgiving Day, consumers want to get the best bargains for their holiday dollars that they can. Enough come in on Thanksgiving Day to make it worthwhile for retail stores.
How many consumers began their holiday buying season on Thanksgiving Day last year?
Over 35 million consumers began their holiday buying seasons early last year, on Thanksgiving Thursday. That was an increase of 22 percent from the previous year, and 58 percent from 2010’s holiday season.
Employees, strapped for cash, work on Thanksgiving Thursday, but that doesn’t mean that they like doing it and being away from their families. Coming in takes them from their families, but the need to earn holiday cash and to keep their jobs compels them to work on Thanksgiving Day.
This year, Kmart will be open for 41 hours without a break. They will open on Thanksgiving at 6:00 a.m. Macy’s and Sears stores will have evening hours on Thanksgiving Day, opening their doors at 8:00 p.m. Other stores which will be open on Thanksgiving Day are J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Herberger’s. and Toys R Us.
The results of one poll last year were that almost one in seven consumers said that they either rushed through Thanksgiving dinner or skipped it entirely so they could get to stores and begin their holiday shopping early. In most cases, this is not because they wanted to do it, but it was because they knew that there would be good deals offered to shoppers who came in on Thanksgiving Day.
This year, there will be one less weekend in the holiday shopping season than there has been the past few years. With retailers trying to get into the black as soon as possible, Black Friday is dead, and is being replaced by Thanksgiving Day. Many big retail chains claim that, by opening on Thanksgiving Day, they are giving consumers what they want, as consumers shop at stores that are open earlier, rather than others, if it means getting a better bargain.
Do you have plans to fight the crowds on shop on Thanksgiving Thursday? Do you think that Thanksgiving Thursday is replacing Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the year? What do you think of the holiday shopping season being pushed back earlier and earlier? Please leave your comments below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb