The holiday shopping season is upon us as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. With it comes Black Friday. Each year, after the turkeys are carved and the pumpkin pie is eaten, Americans line up, sometimes in freezing temperatures, for the sake of a good deal. In recent years, the tradition has spread to other regions, such as Canada and the UK, and sales from the weekend have been used as a marker for how good, or poorly, the economy is doing.
Cyber Monday, the digital offshoot of the long-running shopping holiday, usually takes place on the Monday following the American Thanksgiving weekend, but this year it is kicking off a little early.
ComScore, a cross-platform measurement company that precisely measures audiences, brands and consumer behavior, predicts online spending on Cyber Monday will jump to $3.5 billion from $3.12 billion last year. The company predicts that sales for this holiday season will jump by as much as 19 per cent from last year, to $81 billion.
This year, sales and deals have already started, with Amazon and Walmart rolling out deals on their websites with discounts as high as 70 per cent. The retailers will discount everything from books and makeup to kitchen appliances and lawnmowers. Walmart, who sell over 20 million products online, are expecting much higher sales than last year, as they have added around 30 per cent more products to their website for
A spokesperson for the big-box retailer told The Associated Press that they polled their customers and three out of four who responded said that they wanted to shop Cyber Monday deals earlier, and so they’ll be kicking off online shopping around the same time as their in-store deals.
After this year’s Brexit, the UK is expecting a ‘Brexit boost’ for shopping on Black Friday, despite the fact that the country does not celebrate Thanksgiving. The Telegraph has reported that consumers are expecting sale prices with as much as a 60 per cent discount this year.
“Post Brexit uncertainty has resulted in increased competition between retailers,” says Mark Solomon, founder of lovethesales.com told the Telegraph. He says the competition will be “reflected by more aggressive discounting of inventory. If this trend continues, this Black Friday weekend will be the biggest ever.”
Black Friday is an increasingly controversial event, with many retailers in past years opening their stores as early as 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, the evening before Black Friday is supposed to start. Some say opening stores on thanksgiving interrupts the holiday aspect of the weekend and instead makes it about sales.
Stephen D. Lebovits, President and CEO of CBL & Associates Properties, owners of 72 shopping malls in the United States, said in an interview with The Associated Press that, “more retailers are coming to their senses and realizing it is a family holiday and from a business point of view, it’s not making much business sense.”
In Canada, there is no holiday to interrupt. Walmart says customers can “put [their] passport away,” and shop digitally, rather than braving Thanksgiving traffic congestion to travel to the US for Friday. Retailers all over Canada have released Black Friday deal flyers spreading sales over the whole week. Canadian shoppers can also kick back and wait for those boxing day sales to get started at the end of December.