As holiday rituals go, it's a strange one: you get up at the crack of dawn to fight your way through crushing crowds (and often terrible weather), only to spend a day surrounded by utter pandemonium. I mean, every year people are actually, literally, killed by the craziness.
In years past, the Black Friday shopping frenzy could be justified by the desire to score a great deal. But these days, can't you just as easily order the same sale item online without risking an elbow to the face or battling your way in only to find the item of your dreams is already sold out?
Data reveals that more and more people are finally starting to realize the answer to this question is yes, leaving Black Friday shopping to those odd individuals who enjoy the bloodsport of in-person discount hunting.
Abandoning Black Friday
"Black Friday is dying," declared Fast Company recently in a headline that will cheer the soul of any Black Friday hater. The article cites data from GPShopper that shows an incredible 81 percent of Americans associate the day with stress (that's more Americans than agree that the Earth goes around the sun). Forty-five percent of us go so far as to call it the most stressful day of the year.
Instead, the largest group of shoppers plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping in the second week of December, GPShopper finds. "Instead of having holiday shopping compressed into one day or one weekend, it is being stretched out throughout the holidays," comments GPShopper co-founder Maya Mikhailov, laying out the general trend.
Accenture's Holiday Shopping Survey found a similar decline in intent in braving the crowds. About half of those polled (52 percent) said they were less likely to shop on Black Friday. "What was once a singular day to get deals has become merely one day in a nearly two-month holiday shopping season. It's not that Black Friday has lost all of its luster, but it continues to fade in importance," writes The Motley Fool's Daniel Kline, summing up the survey's findings.
Amazon wins when Black Friday loses.
So if more and more of us are opting out of Black Friday mayhem, what are we opting for instead? As GPShopper notes, sometimes people simply choose to hit their local shops a different day, but other data suggests that a lot of us are just staying home and clicking over to Amazon instead.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 American and European shoppers done by Astound Commerce a full 40 percent of us are planning to do more than half of our shopping via Amazon. Sixty-three percent will do at least some of their holiday shopping on the site, citing low-cost and speedy delivery as the main reasons for their choice.
Still, while many a peace-loving shopper and retail worker will cheer the decline of Black Friday, they shouldn't celebrate prematurely. Online shopping is clearly taking a big bite out Black Friday's share of holiday shopping, but Astound's data also shows that shopper aren't abandoning bricks and mortar shops entirely. Their survey found 66 percent of consumers will still go to physical stores to touch and feel products.
Plus, there are always those shopaholics who simply love the thrill of the chase and the excitement of the day. It seems, however, that the rest of us are increasingly leaving Black Friday to theseenthusiasts and opting to shop from the comfort of our couches instead.
Are you mourning or cheering the decline of Black Friday?