28 Nov Black Friday

Thanksgiving for Americans is all about being grateful for the things in life they already have; whereas the following day known as ‘Black Friday’ seems to be the day in which they bat each other out of the way to get the things they want. How can you knock the economic power of an annual spending initiative which the National Retail Federation estimate will generate $616.9 billion in holiday spending?

Black Friday is so called having become a sales day where retailers operating on a negative would see a massive turn around in profit bringing their figures into the the black on paper. Black Friday certainly makes a lot of sense for shoppers hoping to make a savings on purchases they planned to make regardless of standard recommended retail prices, but it’s clear the hype and frenzy surrounding this spending spree has to make just as much sense for retailers as it does for shoppers hoping to save a buck. No retailer is going to make massive reductions out of the goodness of their own heart, chances are the majority of selected lines entering into reduction for Black Friday are, a lot of the time, under-performing stock items which need to be cleared out to create space for new lines. What every shopper braving the thronging crowds of fellow bargain hunters hopes on Black Friday is to nab a deal which they truly make a saving on, but what retailers benefit from of course; are impulse sales generated by bewildered shoppers caught up in the frantic energy who end up with a cart load of products and items they had no intention of purchasing before entering the store.

When approached with a little sense and a lot of self control, Black Friday seems to be a more sensible alternative to the European version ‘New Year Sales’ – with Christmas fast approaching and financial pressure mounting on individuals who feel obliged to gift give, it certainly  seems wiser to  shop sales before Christmas rather than afterwards to avoid ringing in the New Year with a pocket are full of lint.

Yesterday evening around 6pm, Union Square in San Francisco was a ghost town, the streets were eerily quiet save for a few tourists happy to explore the city streets with ease as the city’s population chowed down on Thanksgiving meals shared with family and friends. In contrast, at 10pm, Union Square in San Francisco was absolutely hopping with people as stores in the area threw open their doors to the crowds in order to kick off the sales early.

Retailers stand to make a jaw dropping 20% of their annual sales during this time so it’s no surprise at all that Black Friday is leaking into the days that surround it on the calendar now. Movements such as #NotOneDime – a nationwide call to boycott any spending on Black Friday as a disruptive response to the fact that no indictment was to be brought against the killer of young Ferguson man Michael Brown went viral online in the days leading up to the sales. Economic starvation is a very powerful way to make a social statement in any circumstance but it seems not to have impacted this year’s spending in any obvious way so far as reports of retail sites such as Best Buy and Topshop crashing due to traffic overloads and stores being full to the rafters with people as predicted make the news rounds.