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Black Friday, This Year’s New Tradition

Nov 24, 2017
Ben Arnold, Executive Director, Industry Analyst ;
Consumer Electronics , Technology

This Thanksgiving we invited my Uncle Pete to dinner, which was great because we don’t normally get to spend the holiday with him. As has become the norm in my house, during dinner, my wife asked when I was heading to the stores and where I was going. Pete, incredulous that I was leaving for the night when we’d barely finished pie yelled at me, “How fun can it be leaving right after dinner and before football? Heading out to the stores at the crack of dawn Friday morning is how it’s done.”

I let Pete’s words sink in. There is no fun in leaving during football. So I decided to do a little market research by having another piece of pie and asking for the remote. This year I decided my holiday research would shift from #AfterTurkeyThursday to #BlackFriday. Tradition and all.

According to NPD’s Holiday Purchase Intention Study, those who intend to buy electronics this holiday expect to spend $595 on average, significantly more than other categories measured.  Despite the buzz and attention devoted to Thursday night, there’s a lot for retailers and manufactures to like about Friday. Fourteen percent of holiday consumers will begin their shopping on Friday. Post-dinner door busters and rock-bottom TV and PC prices are excellent at driving consumers out on Thursday, but on Friday the first thing I noticed was shoppers looking at premium tech products and appliances.

The feel in my local Best Buy was tamer than the beehive I experienced last year. It was active though, and smelled like coffee. There were little kids running around (they get up early) and lots of activity around slightly bigger (60” and above) 4K TVs than normal and PCs - particularly Chromebooks. Target had a strong Beats promotion and I also saw several Echo products in carts - I fully expect those two categories to lead growth this holiday season. And in general, more shopping activity around apparel and toys. I like this Friday crowd.

That being said, I think I’m still a Thursday night shopper. Most interesting, from a research point of view, shoppers seem to have a clear objective - to get the special deal that is only available that night. There’s some urgency in getting deals before they sell out. This year, shopping on Black Friday morning was an enjoyable experience, but next year, it looks like I’m missing football again.


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