A Little Background on Black Friday and What it Means for the Retail Industry


As the holiday season approaches, every major retailer in the country wants to show a little love to its adored consumers. More accurately, they want out money. Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Target and almost every retailer of size has already started announcing Black Friday deals.

Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock or spending a few years in space, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, Black Friday is the fourth Friday in November. And this year (2017), Black Friday will be on November 24, 2017.

Traditionally, Black Friday has been celebrated by brick and mortar retailers starting early in the morning and going until midnight, but things changed as retailers got online and got more aggressive, and shoppers had more disposable income.

“For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 or 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Bealls) opened at midnight for the first time.”Wikipedia    

Retail volumes on Black Friday and the holiday seasons have been rising steadily over the last ten years, and every year the record set the year before gets broken, excluding 2008 of course, thanks to the greatest recession. According to data from thebalance.com, in 2016, customers spent a whopping $655.8 billion during the holiday season, 3.6% more than in 2015. This year’s sales are expected to increase by 4% to hit $682 billion.

To put that in perspective, that’s somewhere between the projected GDPs of Switzerland ($659 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($707 billion) for 2017.

But just Black Friday alone deserves special mention as one of the most high-volume sales days in the calendar year.

Black Friday Records and Stats in 2016:

  • Online sales: $3.34 billion

  • Sales using mobile phones – $1.2 billion

  • Number of consumers shopping: 154 million

  • Average amount of money spent per customer : $290

  • Five best selling toys – Lego Creator Sets, electric scooters from Razor, Nerf Guns, DJI Phantom Drones and Barbie Dreamhouse

  • Five top selling electronic products – Apple iPads, Samsung 4k TVs, Apple MacBook Air, LG TVs and Microsoft Xbox

  • Most popular products of the season (Nov. 1 – 24) – PlayStation 4, followed by Microsoft Xbox One. Pokémon Sun and Moon leads in video games, followed by Call of Duty. Samsung 4K TVs lead in televisions, followed by Vizio 4K TVs.

That’s Black Friday in a nutshell. As retailers – both physical and online – spit shine their wares (I certainly hope that’s just a figure of speech) and get ready to rumble, 2017 is shaping up to be a very lucrative year for the retail industry. With voice shopping now an option on Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, and Walmart fully equipped with a robust e-commerce business, we could see a spike that even beats last year’s growth number of 4%.

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Source: TheBalance, Fashonista, CNNAdobe