Monday, December 4, 2023

Unveiling Black Friday: Must-have deals in high demand ahead of shopping frenzy

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Black Friday falls on November 24, this year. Retailers are getting ready for what they think will be another record-breaking worldwide shopping frenzy.

Black Friday is typically considered to be the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season because of the large crowds that gather at big-box stores in the early hours after American Thanksgiving to take advantage of doorbuster prices.

Retailers will be attempting to capitalise on the excitement in the US, Europe, and other regions. What to anticipate on Black Friday in 2023 is as follows.

History of the word ‘Black Friday’

Police and bus drivers in Philadelphia began referring to the mayhem that a large inflow of people to the city caused before Thanksgiving weekend as “Black Friday” sometime in the 1960s and early 1970s. On Fridays, shoppers would scour Philadelphia’s stores with their Christmas lists in hand, searching for the perfect presents. Parking infractions and shoplifting followed.

Department stores changed the name to “Big Friday” to give it a more uplifting connotation. However, the moniker did not endure, and since the 1980s, retailers have started characterising Black Friday as the day when customers begin their holiday shopping and their retail ledgers are purportedly “in the black,” or operating at a profit, according to Marcus Collins, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Retailers’ plans this year

Early Black Friday “deals” of up to 30 per cent off on some limited products online and in stores are already being promoted by retailers such as Best Buy, Macy’s, H&M, and pure e-commerce companies like Shein and Temu.

They may gauge consumer demand and prevent product shortages, which could be a major issue this year, with the aid of such early marketing. A severe drought has caused the water levels in the Panama Canal, a vital commercial route, to plummet, which has reduced the amount of ships passing through it.

Intentionally, a lot of American retailers reduced their recruiting intentions for the holidays. Retailers in Europe are also facing a labour crisis, which means that customers may encounter a staffing shortfall.

Are this year’s Black Friday crowds likely?

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that 130.7 million consumers are expected to shop on Black Friday this year. In the US, Thanksgiving weekend, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving), is usually the busiest time to shop.

Retail analytics company Sensormatic Solutions predicts that over the holiday season, in-store traffic will decrease by 3.5 per cent from the previous year.

According to AccuWeather, rainy weather is mainly not predicted this year, which discouraged in-store traffic on Black Friday morning in various parts of the United States last year.

While the majority of American stores will remain closed on Thanksgiving this year and instead open to customers at 5 or 6 a.m. on Friday, some retailers are promoting online deals that begin at 12:01 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

Kohl’s is one of them, offering what it refers to as a “Super Deal” on several items on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, such as Beats Studio Buds wireless noise-cancelling earbuds for $89.99 instead of the usual $149.99.

This year, curbside pick-up and online ordering are being promoted by both large and small retailers as convenient options for those who prefer to bypass storefronts. According to data from Adobe Analytics, American Black Friday internet sales have more than tripled in the last ten years, hitting $9.12 billion on the day last year.

This year, will shoppers find Black Friday deals?

Reuters investigation suggests that several large retailers, including Dollar General, Walmart, and Macy’s, may have excess inventory for the second year in a row. To entice customers to visit their stores and websites, they probably need to provide discounts.

Research company Jane Hali & Associates reported even before Black Friday that Nordstrom and Kohl’s saw a decline in foot traffic, while Macy’s and Kohl’s had discounts of up to 60 per cent.

Online savings of up to 35 per cent on toys, 24 per cent on athletic items, and 19 per cent on furniture are anticipated, according to Adobe.

Amounts expected to be spent by shoppers?

The NRF predicts that holiday sales in U.S. stores and online will increase by 3 per cent to 4 per cent in November and December, which will be their weakest growth rate in five years.

According to Adobe Analytics, Black Friday internet spending is predicted to increase 5.7 per cent to approximately $9.6 billion.

According to a survey by fintech company Finder, 132 million Americans want to shop the pre-holiday sales, which include Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in 2023, down from a projected 140 million consumers in the previous year.

According to an Adobe projection, Black Friday online spending in the UK is anticipated to increase 4.5 per cent to $1.30 billion, with total sales throughout the Cyber Weekend set to reach $4.7 billion.

How are retailers luring holiday shoppers with their offerings?

Analysts predict that shops will need to rely on sales and early deals to survive this holiday season, as household budgets are being squeezed by the return of student loan payments and the cost of rent and necessities.

According to Deloitte statistics, consumers last year wanted to maximise promotional activities and finish their shopping in just 5.8 weeks as opposed to a 7.4-week window before the epidemic.

This year, what are the must-have items for Black Friday?

With the recent release of the iPhone 15, smartphones will once again be in demand. Customers who were hoping to purchase Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max last year came away empty-handed as the tech giant battled production issues in China.

According to a Mastercard survey, electronics are predicted to be the most popular choice this holiday shopping season, with growth of 6 per cent predicted.

A Play Station 5 bundle with “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III” or Marvel’s “Spider-Man 2” was available for $499.99 at Best Buy during the start of the retailer’s Black Friday sales in late October.

Skin and hair care items are still in demand. Ulta Beauty is selling CoverGirl and Lancome mascaras, Bobbi Brown concealers, and some of its brand products at up to 40 per cent off.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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