Every year customers flock from their Thanksgiving meals to the mall in order to capitalize on the Black Friday discounts before the holiday season. It is a tradition that has been ingrained since the 1950s. However, more recently, consumers have been more inclined to use their smartphones or tablets in order to avoid the chaos in the stores. In an article written by Mobile Commerce Press, it suggests, “These m-commerce purchases occur in scattered moments over time instead of all at once as is the Black Friday tradition.”1 The moments that occur are called “micro-moments” and will predictably replace the shopping marathons that happen every Black Friday.1 Google observed last year that mobile purchases had steadily increased while spending on big shopping days like Black Friday had decreased.1 “54 percent of shoppers who will be making purchases this holiday season have said that they plan to do some of their shopping on their smartphones during periods of free time,” These new trends may have an effect on the future of Black Friday.
I believe that there is a trend toward mobile commerce in general but especially during heavy shopping periods. The ease and simplicity of using your smartphone to make purchases outweighs the discounts and “deals” that you get on Black Friday. Amazon has a “one-touch” purchase, which sounds a lot better then waiting in huge lines after Thanksgiving.2 In article from Chain Store Age, Dan Leberman, VP/manager of PayPal said, “Ten years ago, there was a big spike in traffic and purchases after Thanksgiving. Now it’s smoothed out. Don’t wait for Cyber Monday or Black Friday.” Online stores are constantly sending out emails and adding discounts or free shipping on regular days that are more convenient and less of a hassle. If a customer has the opportunity to get a similar deal as Black Friday on a random Tuesday on their lunch break; it would make sense that customers would choose the m-commerce method. In the 2014 holiday sales, m-commerce reached about $1 billion, which is a significant amount in comparison to overall Black Friday sales and an increase from the year before. M-commerce gives the customers everything that they want except for the ability to see the products in person. This is an argument to why m-commerce will never overtake the traditional Black Friday shopping.
Some stores are opening earlier on this Black Friday, like Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Best Buy. However, these stores are not known for their strong online/m-commerce presence and offer their best deals in store. One store, Recreational Equipment Inc., is not even opening their doors this Black Friday.4 This specialty store sees more of an online presence and a focus on retailers like Amazon, where it is accessible twenty four/seven.4 While big department stores may still be able to get away with large Black Friday marathon shopping sprees now, I do not think that this is a long-term, sustainable business practice as mobile commerce progresses and improves.