The Friday after Thanksgiving every year kicks off the busiest shopping season for retailers. Many stores are starting early sales in October to make people aware of Black Friday.
Shopping holidays typically originate in the United States, while in recent years they have also become more common in Canada, China, Australia and other parts of the world. Black Friday is generally the most essential shopping holiday with the biggest discounts every year. And it’s usually once a year.
Let’s compare and summarize holiday shopping from the last pre-pandemic holiday shopping (2019) to the present (2023). The 2019 holiday shopping season, in the last of the pre-pandemic era, saw a surge in mobile (which accounted for two-thirds of total Black Friday shoppers) and online shopping. But 84.2 million shoppers still head to the store. For merchants and consumers, there is little need to consider the adequacy of commodity supply chains.
The concentrated outbreak of the epidemic in 2020 has caused tens of thousands deaths; businesses have closed their stores offline. Travel and holiday gatherings have been postponed in most areas.
Due to supply chain, delivery and other issues, the retailer giant Amazon delayed the Prime membership day, and others such as Target and Walmart followed suit. With Walmart and Target closing stores on Thanksgiving, Black Friday itself experienced a more than 50% drop in brick-and-mortar store traffic compared to 2019, while online sales were up 21.6%.
The widespread vaccination in 2023 has not stopped the spread of COVID-19, and many major manufacturing regions in the world, such as China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, etc., have temporarily closed factories due to the epidemic.
Lack of raw materials, limited production capacity and rising demand have led to tight supply chains, higher prices, reduced discounts, and higher freight costs. But there are still many retailers making huge profits.
How about this year? Natalie Warb, finance expert from CouponBirds, offers her insight in her article – supply chain pressures eased at the beginning of the year. In the article, she said that 80% of retail executives surveyed last year were somewhat or very concerned about holiday inventory shortages in 2023, but this year only 11% said there would be major shortages and 59% expected only slight shortages. And with energy prices rising this year due to international military incidents, consumers are spending most of their incomes against high gas and food prices.
The keyword this year is “price”, especially consumers who are very concerned about price. According to a survey by AlixPartners, 39% of consumers plan to buy at least half of their holiday sale items, and 40% say they plan to buy more affordable brands.
In addition, according to the forecast of Intelligence Node, first of all, shoppers will buy earlier this year, and consumers have the opportunity to receive products faster, and merchants can alleviate supply chain tension, inventory backup, and increase inventory turnover.
Second, buyers tend to shop online and pick up goods curbside, and will seek lower prices, so merchants need to set reasonable prices to prevent profit margins from being squeezed.
Third, although online shopping is very convenient, physical stores cannot be ignored, which will drive growth during the shopping season. Merchants need to take preventive measures against the epidemic, improve digital payment solutions and self-service, and bring customers a good shopping experience.
Fourth, Sprout Social’s research shows that consumers are more inclined to brands with sustainable development, and whether a brand makes a positive contribution to social development is the most important factor affecting decision-making. Therefore, merchants can provide sustainable development options on their own brand pages, websites, delivery options, and promote sustainable development plans on the website to customers.
Fifth, retailers need to try to use the NFT trend for marketing to attract the attention of young shoppers and Generation Z. According to Salesforce, 46% of buyers expressed interest in purchasing NFTs, digital assets that represent sacred collectibles on the blockchain.
From the tight supply chain and lack of raw materials brought about by the epidemic to inflation and high prices, consumers’ shopping habits and tendencies are constantly changing, which has also brought continuous tests to businesses. Despite the economic turmoil in recent years, overall consumption trends are positive.
Black Friday has been as competitive for brands looking to cash in on holiday sales as consumers flooding retail and online stores. Brands need to prepare their Black Friday marketing strategies ahead of time, which has the same implications for Cyber Monday that will follow.
For shoppers, there are some amazing discounts on popular items such as top-brand clothing, (Apple) tablets/phones, and popular toys. These items are all on sale at the lowest prices of the year. Of course, you may also encounter long queues, crowds and absolute shopaholics. This is the busiest shopping day of the year in New York. Plus, items can sell out quickly, so it’s advisable to set your alarms ahead of time to make sure you’re the first to grab the best deals and items for yourself.