Black Friday, Cyber Monday Sizzle, But for How Long?

Post-Thanksgiving shopping days may be leading the way for now, but could changing retail tastes move the industry in a different direction?

Consumers are looking to buy a ton of stuff ahead of the holidays, but, in the long run, will the date really matter?

Over the years, the National Retail Federation and its subsidiary,, have often been at the forefront of promoting and providing information on some of the retail industry’s biggest days — including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (Fun fact: Cyber Monday was actually started by during the 2005 holiday season, after the group noticed a strong online buying trend that corresponded with the Monday after Thanksgiving.)

But while the numbers behind this year’s holidays suggest short-term growth, retail trends—such as the move toward mobile—could effectively make them obsolete in the long run.

But that’s not to undercut the success of this year’s major shopping days at all. Here’s a roundup:

Black Friday moves online: While overall spending over the weekend jumped by 13 percent (and situations like these drew tons of media attention), Yahoo’s Jeff Macke points out an interesting trend, via a series of numbers from various retail data sources. About 40 percent of Black Friday sales happened online, a huge jump from the prior year, and one that suggests that people aren’t nearly as willing to brave brick-and-mortar stores as they once were.

Whether it’s longer sales online or in store, the retail calendar we follow today won’t stand the test of time.

Cyber Monday expected to shine: While it’s too soon to analyze exact numbers on the still-happening Cyber Monday, early estimates from comScore (reported by the Associated Press) suggest that Americans will spend as much as $1.5 billion online today—a huge jump from the prior year. But as Vicki Cantrell of points out, “People years ago didn’t have … connectivity to shop online at their homes. So when they went back to work after Thanksgiving they’d shop on the Monday after,” she said. “Now they don’t need the work computer to be able to do that.”

Small Business Saturday slowly catches on: While Black Friday and Cyber Monday grab the headlines, a newer cousin, the mom-and-pop focused Small Business Saturday, is still in its growing stages. While USA Today notes that anecdotal evidence shows the phenomenon is catching on, some local reports, such as this one from The Augusta Chronicle, suggest that the concept needs a little more time.

Fading days? While each of these shopping days has become a de facto holiday in its own right, Christina Ortiz, writing for ReadWrite, suggests, due to changing trends, the days may not last. “Whether it’s longer sales online or in store, the retail calendar we follow today won’t stand the test of time,” she writes.

Do you think that these days will continue to remain drivers for holiday shopping, or are we moving beyond them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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