Black Friday kicked off earlier this year, with Walmart, Sears and Toys “R” Us at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, and Target at 9 p.m., but while these opening times were welcomed by some shoppers, others voiced against the new trend, because, they said, the retailers were breaking traditions, pulling people away from their families on Thanksgiving evening.The new opening times disturbed both shoppers and employees of big-chain retailers. For the first time in 50 years, Walmart employees went on strike, and other forms of protest, outside at least 1,000 locations across the US; and a petition asking Target to “save Thanksgiving” had over 350,000 supporters as of Thursday afternoon, but this didn’t dim the shoppers’ enthusiasm. Many hit the stores early, to grab the first deals.
According to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey by the National Retail Federation, up to 147 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a slight decrease from the 152 million who planned to do so last year. And the statistic is scary for retailers, who were hoping 2012 to be even better than 2011. But if Black Friday fails, they have Cyber Monday to give it another go… online.
97.3 percent of online retailers will offer special promotions at some point during the Thanksgiving weekend, up from 90.2 percent last year, and they have a good reason to do so. The NRF’s holiday spending survey predicts that 56.8 percent or 72 million people, will shop for a holiday gift from the office this year.
“Now more than ever retailers are integrating their digital and in-store promotions, working to create that seamless shopping experience that they know consumers demand and expect,” explained Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell.
Shop.org’s CyberMonday.com, already features a Deal of the Hour on Black Friday from more than 20 different retailers. And the offers are sweet: not only great deals, but free shipping too.