Will the Retail Apocalypse Kill Black Friday?

As the retail industry takes on water from all sides, nearly every institution seems to be in jeopardy, including – according to a recent story from Business Insider – Black Friday.

“Black Friday is dying in the Age of Amazon,” the story says, positing that “consumers really want convenience and they want to get their item and get out of the store quickly. They don’t want to wait in long lines, they don’t want to wait for a store to open anymore.”

This isn’t just the conjecture of a satisfied Prime subscriber either: the made-up holiday drew 3 million fewer shoppers last year than the year before (99 million down from 102), according to National Retail Federation data, while 108 million people shopped online during the same weekend in 2016, up 5 million from 2015.

And here’s where things seem truly disrupted (past tense). As BI notes, “Retailers have trained shoppers to only buy items on sale,” and as a result, “people are getting used to deals all year round.”

Contrary to popular belief, however, no more Black Friday might not be the worst thing for retailers. As the Harvard Business Review recently argued, “It no longer makes sense to rely on disproportionate revenue from the holiday season to make up for softness in sales during the rest of the year.”

“54 percent of consumers start researching holiday purchases in October or before” the HBR notes, and funneling all potential purchases into a three-day period eight weeks after that “unnecessarily limits the relevance of their outreach.”

And now that year-round deals are contributing to the hockey stick growth rates of online sales, it wouldn’t be a shock to see a continued decline in Black Friday shoppers.

You can read more about it at Business Insider and the Harvard Business Review.

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