With the economy in the dumps, many retailers are hoping that the day-after-Thanksgiving tradition of shoppers spending like crazy people will help lift their companies’ bottom lines. The day after Thanksgiving is actually called “black” Friday because it kicks off the official holiday shopping seasons – a time in which most retailers see their annual net operating income go from the red (losing money) into the black (making money). But with people holding on to their scarce dollars and the fear that these dollars may become scarcer in the coming months, will the holiday shopping season be enough to bring significant gains to the market?
For my part, I usually go shopping the day after Thanksgiving in part because of the hysteria of the day and in part because there are great deals to be found if you look for them. One of the places that I go to look for these deals is Black Friday Ads. This is a site that posts the much sought after Black Friday specials and sales for all of the major retailers. A few years ago a consortium of retailers tried to have this site shut down arguing that they were sharing private information. However, the popularity of the site proved that consumers want to know about Black Friday deals well in advance of the wee hours of that Friday morning.
Being led by the shrewd business people that some of them are, a few companies used this critical market research to begin publicizing their Black Friday specials on their websites in advance of the actual holiday. This Christmas season has seen yet another shift in strategy as major companies like Wal-Mart are now offering “Pre-Black Friday” sales. For example, Wal-Mart offered a $298 Compaq laptop computer (only 10 per location) on the morning of November 8th. I think Wal-Mart has the right idea here because they are rewarding those early shoppers with great deals and keeping some of the hysteria in place associated with the Black Friday aura.
At the end of last year’s Christmas season I was sure to pick up a good supply of the “other” things that celebrators need for this time of the year: bows, holiday scented candles, Christmas cards, tags, tape, tissue paper, Christmas boxes, etc. That stuff can actually add up if bought in one pre-Christmas Day purchase! All I need to get this year are the presents to fill the wrapping paper and for which to place the tags. I don’t anticipate going crazy this year for Christmas, but I do have an idea of what I am going to buy for everyone on my list.
Haven’t checked that list twice yet, though… 🙂