For years, Black Friday brawls and rampant materialism on the day after Thanksgiving have become a sort of twisted American celebration. However, each year the excitement continues to die down as people reject the Black Friday antics and instead do their shopping online or on other days. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Black Friday attendance was down over 3%, from 58.7% last year to 55.1% this year.
The survey noted that the average shopper was expected to spend $380.95, which was down from $407.02 the previous year. According to the group’s estimates, sales slipped from $57.4 billion to $50.9 billion.
“A strengthening economy that changes consumers’ reliance on deep discounts, a highly competitive environment, early promotions, and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.
People have begun to change how they feel about Black Friday, with some deciding to support local businesses instead of large corporations, and others deciding to take the day off. As we reported earlier this month, outdoor and sporting goods store REI gave their employees a paid day off on Black Friday, urging them to spend a day out in nature.
“Fewer visits on both days reinforce the trend we’ve seen throughout the year, in which shoppers are researching products ahead of time, targeting their store visits, and arriving in-store with the intention of making a purchase. The decrease in shopper visits on Thanksgiving Day also lends itself to the social backlash against store openings on the holiday,”Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak chief revenue officer said.
While the culture is changing and things are headed in the right direction, there are sadly still enough people out there who are willing to get into fights with their neighbors over electronic products that they don’t need.