Saturday, 28 November 2015

Is Grey Thursday the Next Black Friday in US? Did UK Shoppers Pick Internet over High Street?

Since Black Friday is a US invention, and the UK has just adopted it the last 5 years, they will be just a step behind. According to analysts the United Kingdom sold over £1bn in a single day for the first time ever.

Image by Zvi Roger [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The chaos of Black Friday in the UK of last year was avoided for the most part this year, and places like Debeham's on Oxford Street had an orderly opening at 8:00 am. Retailers are expecting to make £3bn for the entire week ending with Cyber Monday, the 30th of November.

What may have surprised some businesses is the huge amount of sales online; it appears shoppers may prefer the internet over High Street for serious spending. And the 2 busiest online shopping days, the first 2 Mondays in December are still to come!

Over in the US of A, according to CBS News, Black Friday may have passed its prime and there is a new champion in town: Grey Thursday or Thanksgiving Day, an American holiday, itself.

Years past, Thanksgiving has always been a holiday to eat, relax and enjoy family and most businesses, except the bare essentials were closed. Now, retailers are opening up in the afternoons for some serious holiday sales extending way into the night. Times have changed.

Extending the once 3-day shopping week-end with Black Friday as the star, has now been extending on both ends. Thanksgiving starts the craziness off with a bang and Cyber Monday gives it the big closing. Couple those extended shopping days with the popularity of internet shopping and the whole scenario is different now.

Customer Growth Partners, a Retail Consultant firm, is studying customer traffic around the entire United States this year to analyze new patterns. New York was not as busy in the stores as expected, in Chicago the crowds were thinner on Friday but heavy Thanksgiving evening and many shoppers interviewed said some of the same things: online shopping was where they preferred to shop, but going out to the stores on Black Friday was a "fun tradition".

Shopping at Macy's in New York and its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade are part of American tradition, that even the new wave of online shopping won't ever be able to eclipse entirely. However, according to the Guardian there were over 1 million visits online to over 4,500 sites so far creating $1bn in revenue in the US which is up by 22% over last year.

20% of all Holiday shopping takes place on the 4-day, now extended to 5-day week-end from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. And the last 2 months of the year, November and December can make up as much as 20 to 40% of a business' entire yearly sales. The increase in the US this year however good at 3.7% will not surpass 2014 however, because wages are stagnant and there is still sluggish job growth.

by Sally Bartlett