42 Days Left Until The Start Of Black Friday 2010
With holiday season just around the corner, retailers are gearing up for holiday season shopping. The industry’s expectations will likely influence the deals and discounts seen on black Friday, cyber Monday and every shopping day in between.
The national retail federation is predicting an estimated $447 billion in holiday sales, which is a 2.3 percent increase from last year. It’s an anticipated improvement from the last two years of holiday sales. Now, with economists saying that the recession is over, the industry is hopeful.
What is Black Friday
Wikipedia writes about Black Friday, which is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The term dates back to at least 1966, although its usage was primarily on the East coast. The term has become more common in other parts of the country since 2000. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November. According to Reuters, in 2007 135 million people participated in the Black Friday shopping rush.
Black Friday is not an official holiday, but as many workers have the day off as part of the Thanksgiving holiday, this increases the number of potential shoppers. Retailers often decorate for the Christmas and holiday season weeks beforehand. Many retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically opening at 5AM or even earlier. Some of the larger retailers (depending on the location) such as Sears, Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart, and Target have been reported to open as early as midnight on the start of Black Friday in localized areas and remain open for 24 hours throughout the day until midnight the following Saturday. Upon opening, retailers offer door-buster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores.
The term “Black Friday” may have originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving (see Origin of the name “Black Friday” below). More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black, meaning , turning a profit.
The news media frequently refers to Black Friday as the busiest retail shopping day of the year, but this is not always accurate. While it has been one of the busiest days in terms of pedestrian traffic at shopping centers, in terms of actual sales volume, from 1993 through 2001 Black Friday was usually the fifth to tenth busiest day. In 2002 and 2004, however, Black Friday ranked second place, and in 2003 and 2005, Black Friday actually did reach first place. The busiest retail shopping day of the year in the United States (in terms of both sales and customer traffic) usually has been the Saturday before Christmas.
In many cities it is not uncommon to see shoppers lined up for hours before stores with big sales open. Once inside the stores, shoppers often rush and grab, as many stores have only a few of the big-draw items. On occasion, injuries and even fatalities are reported. On Friday, November 28, 2008, Jdimytai Damour, a worker at a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York was trampled to death by shoppers who broke through the store’s glass doors minutes before the store’s scheduled opening at 5:00 a.m.; a pregnant mother was hospitalized from injuries in the same human “stampede”, though early reports of a resultant miscarriage were determined to be in error. On that same day, two people in Palm Desert, California were shot and killed in a Toys R Us store during an argument
Electronics and popular toys are often the most sought-after items and may be sharply discounted. Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay home and avoid the hectic shopping experience. The local media often will cover the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began lining up at various stores and providing video of the shoppers standing in line and later leaving with their purchased items. Traditionally Black Friday sales were intended for those shopping for Christmas gifts. For some particularly popular items, some people shop at these sales in order to get deep discounts on items they can then resell, typically online.
Sony’s “Gran Turismo 5” believed to be released in time for Black Friday
Sony Corp. delayed the global release of the “Gran Turismo 5” car-racing title for its PlayStation 3 video-game console a second time because of production problems.
The company will sell the title “this holiday season,” Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesman at the game unit in Tokyo, said by telephone today. Tokyo-based Sony had planned to sell the game on Nov. 2 in the U.S. and Europe and the following day in Japan.
“Gran Turismo 5” is the biggest exclusive game this holiday season for Sony, which uses such titles to lure buyers to its hardware. Console makers typically record losses for the machines in the first few years of development and sales because the cost of materials takes time to drop, forcing them to rely on software to boost earnings.
In 2009, number of shoppers up, average spending down
Americans Spent $41.2 Billion Over Holiday Weekend
According to the National Retail Federation, as the closely-watched Black Friday weekend winds down, a National Retail Federation survey conducted over that weekend confirms the expected: more people spent less. According to NRF’s Black Friday shopping survey, conducted by BIGresearch, 195 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend in 2009, up from 172 million from 2008. However, the average spending over the weekend dropped to $343.31 per person from $372.57 two years ago. Total spending reached an estimated $41.2 billion.
“Shoppers proved this weekend that they were willing to open their wallets for a bargain, heading out to take advantage of great deals on less expensive items like toys, small appliances and winter clothes,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. “While retailers are encouraged by the number of Americans who shopped over Black Friday weekend, they know they have their work cut out for them to keep people coming back through Christmas. Shoppers can continue to expect retailers to focus on low prices and bargains through the end of December.”
According to the survey, nearly one-third (32.2%) of shoppers purchased toys, an increase of 12.9 percent from last year. Additionally, more people purchased sporting goods (12.6% vs. 11.4% last year), personal care or beauty items (22.4% vs. 19.0%) and gift cards (21.2% vs. 18.7%). The most popular purchases were of clothing (50.9%) and books (40.3%), which remained nearly unchanged over last year.
In order to nab the best holiday items, more shoppers headed out for bargains while it was still dark outside. According to the survey, nearly one-third of shoppers (31.2%) were at the stores by 5 a.m., compared with 23.3 percent who were at stores by that time last year.
“During a more robust economy, people may be inclined to hit the “snooze” button on Black Friday, but high unemployment and a focus on price caused shoppers to visit stores early in anticipation of the best deals,” said Phil Rist, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, BIGresearch.
With Black Friday around the corner, new job offers on their way
Black Friday’s offiial website writes about the number of jobs, or at least temporary jobs to be created for the upcoing Holiday Season. In a more stagnant economy, retail stores tend to lower their prices to bring in more shoppers. That, combined with Black Friday savings, is sure to produce some great deals. But there is another bright spot to this upcoming Black Friday, employment. Black Friday, without question, forces retail stores to hire at least temporary workers to deal with the mad rush from Black Friday all the way through Christmas.
According to the Star Tribune & WalletPop.com, Best Buy is adding 29,000 temporary workers to its stores, Macy’s is hiring 65,000, Home Depot is hiring 10-15 people per store, Limited Brands, which owns stores like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, are hiring 50,000, & Toys R US is adding 45,000. These are just a few of the stores that will be hiring this Black Friday. Last year, struggling to find work after graduating college, I was actually hired by UPS during this time as well. Although it wasn’t permanent and didn’t pay very well, the temporary employment gave me a pay check and a chance to finally breathe.
Altogether between 500,000 and 600,000 jobs are to be added during this Holiday Season according to Courier-Journal. Last year 501, 400 jobs were added for Black Friday and the Holiday Season. 600,000 jobs would bring the unemployment rate down by about 0.2%. While that isn’t a ton and these are just temporary jobs for the Holiday Season, temporary work is better than no work at all, and every little bit helps.