The nature of Black Friday is changing, with the trend leaning toward more and more brick-and-mortar retailers staying closed on the big post-Thanksgiving (in the US at least) ‘biggest shopping day of the year’. But this isn’t just an altruistic reprieve on the part of retailers, giving their employees a well-deserved day off with their families: the new reality is that most people are doing their shopping and searching for the best deals online.
In the years since the 1990s, when Singles’ Day was launched in China to rival Valentine’s Day, it has ramped up to not only rival but completely crush famous, volume-heavy shopping events, such as Black Friday. In the last few years, Singles’ Day, which takes place annually on 11 November, has become a countrywide online shopping spree, with each year far surpassing the last in online sales.
The last few days, hours and minutes tick by before Black Friday and similar days, all designed to drum up feverish consumer fervor for festive holiday bargains. Most e-commerce sites enforce a code freeze leading up to these all-important days, hoping to prevent outages and other unforeseen headaches. (Assuming that the biggest retailers follow this practice, it seems it’s not a foolproof strategy.)
Black Friday (and the newer but nevertheless popular Cyber Monday) has come and gone for another year - but not without significant hiccups for some unlucky - and possibly unprepared - retailers. Site-busting deals and multi-channel, round-the-clock promotion of these bargains drives more and more shoppers to beat the crowds and shop online. But, as many a dissatisfied shopper complained across social media channels, what is the point of offering exceptional deals that no one can take advantage of?