Retailers Panic: 63% Of Americans Plan Not To Shop On Black Friday

Tyler Durden's picture

The day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is when the holiday shopping season in the United States traditionally begins and is the day when retailers (at least in the past) finally turned a profit, going from “being in the red” to “in the black.” However, in recent years, this trend has seen turned upside down, with sales on Black Friday slipping, as retailers offer pre-Thanksgiving deals ever earlier than in recent years to capture heavily discounted market share (think OPEC) and draw shoppers as "Black Friday" no longer marks the spending peak at brick-and-mortar chains.

According to National Retail Federation data, the number of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers has fallen by nearly a third in just the past three years to 102 million in 2015, from 147 million in 2012, not only as a result of bricks and mortar stores starting the selling season earlier but due to stiff competition form online vendors, most notably Amazon. Moreover, early holiday promotions and online shopping hurt in-store spending by more than 6 percent last year.

As a result, 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.

Wal-Mart has already said it will increase inventory by more than half this year and make deals typically reserved for Black Friday available online early Thanksgiving morning. Retail pricing and data analytics firm Market Track said an analysis of 15 top U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers and their Black Friday circular announcements online showed they were about three days earlier than last year.

In what is shaping up to be a giant race to the bottom which may result in an unprecedented, below cost inventory liquidation, retailers have just one response: "they are all trying to beat each other to the punch and starting their promotions earlier and earlier every year," said Traci Gregorski, senior vice president, marketing at Market Track.

Ironically, the reason why so few Americans will shop this year is becase last year, discounts on popular products deepened by 30 to 40% from Black Friday prices as Christmas got closer, according to Market Track data.

So why rush when consumers now know that "must have" holiday item will only get cheaper?

Mark Cohen, a professor at Columbia Business School and the former chief executive of Sears Canada said the urgency related to Black Friday has greatly diminished. "Consumers know great deals and discounts are available throughout the year, and prices during the holiday season will only get better if they wait," he said.

Sure enough, deals have been available for several days already on websites of retailers like Target, Macy's, Kohl's, Home Depot and Lowe's Cos. joined with a first of its kind month-long Black Friday promotion.

Some brands are getting in on the action by offering steep discounts that reduce the appeal of waiting for Black Friday. Handbag maker Kate Spade is already offering 75 percent off some items, and off-price chain Saks Off Fifth has similar discounts on some clothing and shoes

* * *

With shopping dynamics changing by the year, and escalating discounting prevalent, retailers are in a state of chaotic flux: the year-end shopping season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for up to 40 percent of their annual sales. The NRF, which has been overly optimistic at times in the past with its sales projections, expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion. The NRF will be disappointed yet again - about 70% of retailers expect sales to remain flat this year, according to telephone interviews with chief marketing officers at 100 U.S. retail firms, BDO Consumer said.

Still, despite the changing attitudes toward Black Fruday, there will be few strategic changes from recent years: big bricks-and-mortar players like Target and Wal-Mart will still open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

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LawsofPhysics's picture

Fuck em.  I suspect the ammo sales to continue though...

yrad's picture

Starve the beast. And if you do buy anything, pay cash.

Shocker's picture

Support businesses that you agree with.

Current Layoff List:

stacking12321's picture

Jesus died for your sins, and by the way here's this cheap Chinese icrap to remember him by.

Holiday shopping is for brainwashed sheep.

froze25's picture

I will be making most of my gifts this year, Beer, Wine and Soap. All easy to do. starve the beast.

Badsamm's picture

I'll be taking a knife and weapons making class. Ho ho ho

Holy hand grenade of Antioch's picture
Holy hand grenade of Antioch (not verified) Badsamm Nov 23, 2016 11:36 AM

I got one of these for X-Mas 3 years ago...


It's all I'd ever really need.


Contact the 'Colonel' ~ he'll fix u up (but he's got about a 8-12 month backorder log).

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

OMG, grenade! What a lovely and thoughtful gift! I would love one of those under my tree! It'd be the gify that keeps on giving, (assuming the mash holds up.)

Holy hand grenade of Antioch's picture
Holy hand grenade of Antioch (not verified) Theosebes Goodfellow Nov 23, 2016 11:49 AM

@Fester ~ The mash is the easy part with one of these...


I'd hacked & welded a few different ones in the past, including welding copper tubes to pressure cookers & trying to get temperature guages at the right cracking levels...


But this one WORKED right from the start.


The 'Colonel' takes pride in his work... FFS, the shipping crates alone were well thought out pieces of art by themselves...

Handful of Dust's picture
Sales of new homes decline unexpectedly


Woof Bitzer, Radditz and Lester Holt expressed their shock. Must be 'fake sales decline' since the recovery is awesome!

zuuma's picture

stock 50 pallets of .22LR

then I'll come in & shop.

SWRichmond's picture

stock 50 pallets of .22LR

then I'll come in & shop.

50% off ammo please, thank you.  Because enemies, foreign and domestic. Not 50%, but it's a start:
beauticelli's picture
beauticelli (not verified) Handful of Dust Nov 23, 2016 12:24 PM

People shop on BF for Christmas. Why should these mammonists be shocked when they think Christmas is pagan? God is pissed.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Interesting that sale prices go on a schedule of the retailers liking rather than any marketplace timing.

I will buy my gold based on the pricing expectations and not the date...

PTR's picture

There will be plenty of photos and videos of people fighting posted online.

Gladly, I will have missed all them, focusing my attention on family, which is more important than buying dohicky shit.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

I'm in the middle of moving across the country, but I bookmarked your link to the colonel. And yes, it's amazing all the things you can turn into mash. Those are some very nice pots. I love it when tools are beautiful to boot.

StychoKiller's picture

Whoa, do NOT get those recipes mixed up!  :>D

Mustafa Kemal's picture

I have told my family that, except for the grandchildren, I will not give or receive any material gifts this year. If you want to talk, walk, do something, or have tea that will be great.

HelluvaEngineer's picture

Well, there's also that minor issue that it's widely accepted that he wasn't born during that time of year and both Christmas and Easter are co-opted pagan holidays.

spastic_colon's picture

i wonder how much xanax i would have to ingest to try and prove that theory before I was admitted to the psych ward; i'm gonna go with the i dont care when/if he was born theory and enjoy nature and my life.

Shocker's picture

Saying if your going to shop... shop at small/business that you agree with.

bidaskspread's picture

Why would anyone go black friday shopping when they can purchase more inexpensive stocks. Dow to 20k!!


spastic_colon's picture

according to the snowflake news it should be called african-american friday....totally not fake / s

Holy hand grenade of Antioch's picture
Holy hand grenade of Antioch (not verified) freewolf7 Nov 23, 2016 10:59 AM

#BLACK [Friday] LIVES [don't] MATTER

JRobby's picture

2016, the year they finally figured out that no one has any money to spend. That includes even enough food.

Bloodbath followed by fake news reports on "numbers" with tight angle video showing lines of semi-comatose "shoppers".

Idiot fucks!

Holy hand grenade of Antioch's picture
Holy hand grenade of Antioch (not verified) JRobby Nov 23, 2016 11:03 AM

2008 ~ 2016


Peak #Black Friday era

Handful of Dust's picture

But npr says the economy is awesome!




Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

What's that? Half off on the "reason for the season"?
"Save now on eternal salvation!"?
"Jimminy Christmas, have we got a deal for you!"

Somehow, it appears our souls have lost their way. Some bargain, huh?

mkkby's picture

Don't worry.  On Jan 22, they'll suddenly switch to saying it sucks and is getting worse.

HelluvaEngineer's picture

If the fake news wants us to shop, maybe they should quit showing footage of orangutans beating the shit out of people at Walmart every single year.

fbazzrea's picture

yeah, the lines are long because half the checkout lines are closed.

One-Eyed-Thong's picture
One-Eyed-Thong (not verified) LawsofPhysics Nov 23, 2016 10:57 AM


ammo is going illegal in california in january


stacking12321's picture

Stick to the facts and don't spread misinformation.

One-Eyed-Thong's picture
One-Eyed-Thong (not verified) stacking12321 Nov 23, 2016 12:28 PM


there, now, point me to the ammo sales

Badsamm's picture

Responsible gun ownership is having at least 2000 rounds per gun.

One-Eyed-Thong's picture
One-Eyed-Thong (not verified) Badsamm Nov 23, 2016 12:28 PM

at least

918pigpen's picture

Got Ammo??  Check!!

Fuck'em Feed 'em FishHeads


boattrash's picture

I do my Christmas shopping at a gun/ammo store, a good quality meat market, and a liquor store. I have never had a recipient of gifts that was disappointed from that.

If I did, I think I'd have to strike them from my gift list...Terrible, aren't I?

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow ZHrs out there (even the ones that I've kicked in the nuts, and those that have kicked mine).

I think we can all be thankful that HRC lost.

chunga's picture

Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Whatta ya know...SGAmmo is having a Black Friday Sale. This is a good company.

boattrash's picture

Thanks for the link! I never tire of good ammo!

918pigpen's picture

Yes sir!  Been buying from Sam a long time now!

Great people!

ZH Snob's picture

a black friday boycott following a trump victory might send a message.

Long-John-Silver's picture

Most of the stuff they sell as Black Friday Specials are junk. This includes name brand things such as TV's. Manufacturers will pull products with manufacturing defects they can't sell except as specials with limited warranty coverage. Things like TV's with defective surface mount capacitors that can't be replaced. They started production and didn't know of the problem for a few months. By that time they had produced thousands of them. They simply put them out as Black Friday Specials and sell them at cost and a 90 day warranty. The customers buy it and 180 days later the capacitors go bad and black lines appear across the TV screen. The store tells the customer when they return it that they are shit out of luck as it's out of warranty.

Automatic Choke's picture

who says you can't replace smt caps?

restelle's picture

I can and do.  Most important (at least for me) is my lighted magnifier so I can see.

Bill of Rights's picture

VISIO is one of those products pure junk...