Port Washington, NY—The extended hours that most major retailers initiated this year for Black Friday—that is opening on Thanksgiving Thursday—may have spread out shoppers, resulting in a less frenetic Friday than in past years.
The Black Friday Creep may not result in higher sales overall, but it has help to boost traffic.
According to Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, Inc., the new schedule may have drawn in some consumers that have avoided the sale date in the past.
More Traffic, But More Sales?
“What was so different? This year’s more ‘normal’ hours attracted more families and shoppers with kids in tow. Whereas those more traditional 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.,” Cohen says. “Black Friday hours of years past often left these groups out in the cold, it would seem that this year’s hours were designed to attract this consumer demographic.”
Families shunned openings in the wee hours, but felt comfortable hitting stores after Thanksgiving dinner. But don’t think that necessarily means sales were up as a result.
Cohen says more people didn’t mean more spending. “So much of that extra foot traffic was driven by tagalongs, not spenders. And many of the newbie Black Friday shoppers were merely window shopping, not buying. With additional days and extended hours came some semblance of civility amongst shoppers. That, along with retailers doing a better job of organizing and stocking doorbusters while offering these same deals online at all hours of the day meant a more civilized shopping experience.”
In its weekly NPD Shop-O-Meter that tracks holiday sales, just prior to Black Friday week, consumers have completed 12% of their shopping, a figure that will serve as a benchmark for Black Friday sales.
According to NPD’s Holiday Spending Survey, 34% of shoppers say they plan to shop before and during “The Thanksgiving Weekend.” Among these shoppers, the percentage of women outnumbers men, but only by a slim margin (36% and 32%, respectively).