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Black Friday, more symbolic than significant

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Once upon a time there was no such event as Black Friday. No hideous throngs of rabid consumers fighting over bargains and queueing for discounts. Perhaps that day will come again. According to new data from the Holiday Outlook 2019 by PwC, which analysed the buying habits of over two thousand American consumers, the Friday following Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday, will no longer exercise the same power over the average holiday spending season.

The November day dedicated to all things discounted inaugurates the Christmas shopping season which this year will fall on 29 November. According to PwC consumers are “kinda over Black Friday,” as the event is seen to be “more symbolic than significant.” This comes as omnichannel shopping has radically transformed the buying impetus and experience of holiday shopping.

Black Friday fatigue

According to PwC data, 59 percent of the US population made purchases on Black Friday in 2015. After only four years, this has fallen to 36 percent, slightly lower than 2018 figures. Moreover, 50 percent of consumers admitted to wanting to postpone their holiday shopping in the period following the week of Black Friday.

American consumers are expected to spend an average of 1,284 US dollars of which 720 dollars is allocated for family, 344 dollars for themselves and 123 dollars for friends. At the top of the list of the most active “spenders” are travellers, followed by young graduates..

Online shopping is one of the primary reasons of the slowdown in shopping on Black Friday. Participants interviewed by PwC stated they would make 54 percent of their pre-Christmas purchases online.

Retailers are hoping November will transform into an entire month of buying opportunities in the run-up to Christmas. Almost half of young millennials (age 24-27) are expected to spend more this holiday season than they did last year, compared to 33 percent of consumers overall.

A sensible 35 percent is planning to go on holiday instead.

Source: PwC 2019 Holiday Outlook. Image by John Henderson, source Flickr

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