Black Friday conjures up images of mad crowds rushing through narrow doorways for the Tickle-Me-Elmos and 64” plasma televisions. The evolution of America’s most iconic holiday, the one that is completely and truly ours, has shifted over the years, but one thing stays constant; it means big cash for all kinds of businesses.
At a national level, Black Friday has changed in a number of ways. The most important of all is that it isn’t a single day. We’ve all heard (and probably moaned) about Christmas creep, the phenomenon of seeing Christmas decorations and ads pop up in November, October, even as early as September at some retailers. Black Friday is hot on Christmas’ heels. Companies like Kohl’s, Walmart, Best Buy, and others don’t leave it until Black Friday to start slashing prices. Businesses have unleashed deals a month or more ahead of schedule, while others like Costco, announced deals that would go in effect closer to Black Friday itself.
In a sense, Black Friday has sacrificed urgency for competition. For many retailers, it’s no longer about getting people through the door, but a battle for eyes all month long. It means a lot more than just killer discounts. A solid Black Friday campaign means leveraging the full might of a marketing department or agency across every medium; print matters in mailers and newspaper inserts, digital ads and paid campaigns garner clicks, and good partnerships matter, too. In addition to a full slate of national and extremely specific digital campaigns to support individual dealers, GE Appliances paired with, what else, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to drive its Black Friday and holiday sales efforts.
Online retailers aren’t just advertising for the full month of November through Black Friday. Cyber Monday has shifting the sales bonanza into a full four-day affair if you include the more charity and non-profit focused Giving Tuesday that follows it. Brands can essential shift their efforts from digital to brick and mortar and back to digital across the weekend to ensure plenty of traffic and a lot of cash flow.
According to experts, consumers might already be tapped up by Black Friday. A recent study found that 20% of consumers are already making holiday purchases in September; by the more traditional sales season, they may have finished their list, checked their bank account twice, and found themselves tapped out. The more money they spend early, the less they have to shop the competition; that might be the key to the motivation to offer Black Friday deals earlier and earlier each season.
Black Friday is something we closely associate with Thanksgiving, but the ultimate Black Friday creep is international. Over the past few years, retailers have introduced similar deals and competitive pricing in European and Canadian markets that don’t celebrate our version of Thanksgiving, leaving Black Friday as its own special date on the calendar. All the ads and shopping without the pie? Our version of Black Friday certainly seems like the better deal.
What’s the earliest Black Friday deal you’ve spotted? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might just share it on our social channels!