As the calendar inches closer to November 24th, retailers worldwide are gearing up for what promises to be a record-breaking global shopping spree on Black Friday. This annual extravaganza, known for doorbuster discounts and enthusiastic crowds, traditionally marks the unofficial commencement of the Christmas shopping season. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of Black Friday 2023, exploring the origins of its name, retailers' strategies, crowd expectations, and the hottest deals to anticipate.
The Origins of 'Black' Friday
The term 'Black Friday' traces back to the 1960s and early 1970s in Philadelphia when it was used by police and bus drivers to describe the chaos preceding the Thanksgiving weekend. Originally associated with negative connotations, retailers attempted to rebrand it as 'Big Friday.' However, the name 'Black Friday' persisted, gaining significance in the 1980s as a day when retail ledgers are said to turn 'in the black,' signifying profitability.
Retailers' Plans for Black Friday 2023
Major retailers such as Best Buy, Macy's, H&M, Shein, and Temu are already enticing consumers with early Black Friday deals, offering discounts of up to 30% on select merchandise both online and in physical stores. This strategic move not only gauges shopper demand but also aims to mitigate potential product shortages, a concern exacerbated by low water levels in the Panama Canal due to a severe drought.
Anticipating Black Friday Crowds
Approximately 130.7 million people are expected to participate in Black Friday shopping this year, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF). While Thanksgiving weekend typically witnesses the highest foot traffic in the United States, industry experts suggest that Black Friday itself may see reduced significance in 2023. The proximity of Christmas to a Monday allows procrastinating shoppers to delay purchases until the weekend before.
Online Shopping Trends and Discounts
In an era where online shopping continues to surge, Black Friday purchases made on the internet are projected to increase by 5.7% to approximately $9.6 billion. Major retailers, including Dollar General, Walmart, and Macy's, may face challenges with excess stock, potentially leading to enticing discounts to attract customers to their physical and online stores. Research by Jane Hali & Associates indicates substantial discounts at Kohl's and Macy's, reaching as high as 60%.
Projected Shopper Expenditure
Despite the economic challenges posed by returning student loan payments and rising living costs, holiday sales, both online and in U.S. stores, are expected to see a modest increase of 3% to 4% during November and December. Black Friday online spending is anticipated to rise by 5.7%, reaching $9.6 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. In the United Kingdom, online spending during Black Friday is projected to rise by 4.5% to £1.05 billion ($1.30 billion).
Retailers' Strategies to Attract Shoppers
With financial constraints influencing household budgets, retailers are anticipated to heavily rely on promotions and early offers to entice shoppers. Analyzing consumer behavior, Deloitte reports a trend where consumers aim to complete their holiday shopping in a shorter timeframe of 5.8 weeks compared to the pre-pandemic window of 7.4 weeks.
Hot Items for Black Friday 2023
As shoppers eagerly await the iPhone 15, launched recently, electronics are poised to be the top picks this shopping season, with an estimated 6% growth. Best Buy has already initiated Black Friday deals, featuring items like the PlayStation 5 bundled with popular games. Additionally, skin and hair care products continue to be in demand, with retailers like Ulta Beauty offering substantial discounts on select items.
Insights from Retailers
Macy's CEO, Jeff Gennette, notes a shift in the competitive landscape with Black Friday deals emerging even before the official day. Mattel President, Steve Totzke, expresses optimism about a robust Black Friday and holiday season despite prior warnings of slowing demand for the toy industry.
As Black Friday 2023 approaches, consumers can anticipate a dynamic shopping landscape with early deals, online promotions, and enticing discounts. From the origins of the term to the projected shopper expenditure, this guide provides a comprehensive overview, ensuring that you're well-equipped to navigate the exciting world of Black Friday and make the most of the season's offerings. Stay tuned for updates and make informed choices during this year's shopping extravaganza.