Black Friday: Department Stores' Favorite Holiday

The Friday after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is the day that we have all been waiting for. Organize the display racks, sweep the floors, and over-schedule the staff in preparation for retail’s very biggest holiday.

For retailers, Black Friday is one of the most important business days. With the ease of shopping via tablets, smartphones and computers, e-commerce is threatening physical retail shops.  It is becoming more and more difficult to build up the motivation to get out of bed and make a trip to a store. However, Black Friday exists as an exception that triumphs our innate laziness as online shoppers. This is the day where stores implement special sales and exclusive items, driving the desirability of Black Friday to eager customers.

Over time, Black Friday developed as an American tradition. The Business of Fashion states, “Black Friday is still enough of a social activity that Americans like to do it in person, said Rod Sides, vice chairman at Deloitte. That’s helped the chains push back against e-commerce on that day.” Thus, Black Friday remains as a popularized social activity in which bargain shoppers have the yearly opportunity to raid department stores, snagging the best day-only deals. In a poll taken this year, CNBC states that “about 38% of American consumers plan to shop on Black Friday this year.” Although this number may appear diminutive, this 38% makes up a majority of their large holiday purchases.

Although Black Friday is often viewed as an “American cliché,” it is indispensable to the department stores success. Ultimately, the retailer experience is cultivated in stores, not online. Just as bookstores have almost disappeared from our modern culture, local clothing stores are also on the decline, marking the necessity of Black Friday’s success. Black Friday celebrates the in-store experience, as its value continues to get lost in this fast technology-based generation and our modernizing cultural script.

We were shopping in-store on Black Friday...were you?

Brian Zhao