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Black Friday as we know it is finally dead

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Black Friday as we know it is finally dead

by Parija Kavilanz
CNN Business
July 7, 2020


This could be the year Black Friday finally unravels.

For decades, the day after Thanksgiving has attracted massive crowds and hysteria outside of malls and stores nationwide.
Thousands of shoppers gather sometimes as early as 5 pm Thanksgiving Day itself, jostling for the mad dash into their favorite shops to grab Black Friday doorbuster deals on flatscreen TVs, diamond necklaces, holiday toys, winter coats and more.
Now imagine this scenario in a pandemic.
"I just can't envision that happening this year," said Scott Rankin, principal and national consumer and retail strategy leader with KPMG US.
"With everything that's going on, there may be no Black Friday at all," said Rankin. "I can't imagine retailers buying inventory to stock up for an event designed to pack hundreds of people into a store. There are so many risks to that."
The only way Black Friday can be the annual shopping bonanza it has been for decades, he said, is "if by some stroke of luck we have a vaccine and everyone gets it by Black Friday."

As we all know this season will be different than last year. Retailers are already changing their model to start "black friday" specials after Halloween vice Thanksgiving.

Even the experts say, however, that a vaccine will take at least 18 months to develop and test.
At least one retailer is already thinking ahead to a different Black Friday game plan this year.
Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette raised the issue with analysts just last week. "When you look at the stores, I would tell you that [crowds are] a big concern of ours. But when you think about a Black Friday, if you think about the 10 days before Christmas, what does that mean in terms of traffic if people are nervous about gathering with crowds?"
At the same time, more consumers have actively embraced online shopping. Noting the trend, Gennette said Macy's is looking to focus on online deals for Black Friday.
Macy's is also considering a much earlier start to its Black Friday marketing push, potentially right after Halloween, and plans to adopt one other tactic for the first time during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The pandemic could force retailers to rethink their typical Black Friday strategy of one-day deep deals designed to attract hordes of shoppers into stores.

"Curbside pickup is going to be a big secret weapon for us. We didn't have it last holiday season," said Gennette. "We think that's going to be huge for this holiday season."

Losing its relevance

Industry watchers say Black Friday has been losing its relevance with shoppers in recent years.

One reason is because retailers started to spread their deals out over many days instead of just one day. And consumers increasingly have turned to the internet to find even deeper deals than in-store bargains, forcing more holiday shopping to shift online.

"I think it's accurate to say that online sales now account for as much as 40% of Black Friday sales," said Rankin.

Online sales were rising even before the pandemic. In 2019, shoppers spent more than $600 billion online, up nearly 15% from the previous year, according to the Commerce Department.

"Black Friday has definitely transitioned more into a digital affair in the past five years," said Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail. "The focal point is not that single day anymore. It's an event spread out over several days."

Saunders expects Black Friday will be even more diminished this year, especially if Covid-19 sees a second wave in the fall and winter. "As a single day, yes, much less relevant than ever this year," he said.

Still, there are some encouraging signs for retailers that consumers' appetite for shopping remains strong despite the current challenges.

"As stores reopen, there are still people lining up to go shop," said Rod Sides, who leads Deloitte's US retail and distribution practice. "Some retailers will look at this and think the risk is too great to attract big crowds on Black Friday. But there could be others who won't be too worried as long as they are able to keep their employees and customers safe. It could be somewhat of a mixed bag."

SOURCE: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/07/business/black-friday-dead-pandemic/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0KARxctsRg3R6h4JWS77fD9JUOkG8TY6pK-aKAnlsgcFalXUgIANK8tnU



Edited by Michael Rielly
moved to latest news and edited for formatting
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Not worried about it. It's July....Black Friday is some time off. Just today I read the CDC may have to end the term 'pandemic'. Let's be honest: words have power and you lift the word 'pandemic' and people will psychologically feel better. Also, people are wore out. Simply wore out. 

We take inherent risks when we wake up every morning and after the actions of people throughout the last 7 weeks I believe people are willing to take risks to live their lives like they have been doing for years. If it's ok to cause mayhem and magically not get sick, then it's fine to go shopping.

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sad news - I never really "shopped" on Black Friday - but it was always a day to go out and just enjoy the rush of the Christmas season - the last few years have not even been able to do that since I've been busy with Santa - but the news is not surprising - marketing starts Christmas earlier every year - as summer comes to a close expect to start seeing decorations and trees going up in Costco and Lowes, etc . . . 

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Never went shopping starting the week of Thanksgiving until a week after New Year's.  Now as a Santa, don't have the time to go out shopping during that time. 

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From my observation at grocery stores, home improvement, some fast food, quite a few people are ignoring the mask mandate, the social distancing, and the direction arrows in aisles, so in 4 months, believe that might be worse instead of better.  From this, my opinion AT THIS TIME, is that Black Friday will be a complete mad house unless the stores stay closed.  For some the tradition and the low sale prices will bring out the normal Black Friday experience.

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These kind of discussions are just that, discussions. All speculation and guesses. Folks, we all just have to wait and see. The only other thing is, if the "power of suggestion" or "brainwashing" our thinking, dictates what might happen.

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I think that the Friday after Thanksgiving, will be forever known as, "Black Friday", no matter how much things change.  I remember when people camped out in front of a store just to be the first ones in when the store opened.
You may not see things like that anymore, but that day will always be know as Black Friday, perhaps with some different meanings or events.

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  • 2 weeks later...

good - I would rather be home and enjoy family

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm glad that this has happened, too many times my sons and daughter would have to work on Thanksgiving in order to get the store ready. Maybe now we can start examining what it means to have a day when we give thanks for our families and for the good things we have have. 

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