Black Friday 2022 is almost upon us—that infamous time after Thanksgiving when businesses offer deals on all kinds of consumer goods, from electronics to jewelry and clothing. Black Friday has caused quite a frenzy for shoppers, retailers, and security over the years. But have you ever wondered where the name came from?
The term “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia in the 1950s. A huge number of shoppers would come to Philadelphia for the annual Army-Navy football game, which was played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On Friday, visitors flooded the shops, and police were called out to control overcrowding, deal with traffic jams, and catch shoplifters. In the 1980s, the term caught on nationally to represent the shopping spree for Christmas presents that took place the day after Thanksgiving.
Since the ‘80s, Black Friday has evolved from stores opening early on the Friday after Thanksgiving to opening on Thanksgiving evening, and the doors have continued to open earlier and earlier since then. Stores would battle it out with competing deals and “online doorbusters” to encourage the shopping frenzy.
And then in 2020, COVID-19 changed everything for Black Friday. Stores couldn’t encourage in-store events as they had to meet local health mandates, which prohibited large gatherings in the majority of the US. Businesses adapted by driving more online sales and extending their specials. These changes gave consumers more flexibility and, as a result, consumer spending increased. So what should we expect for Black Friday in 2022? Here are our predictions.
#1 Online Shopping Will Still Prevail
Gone are the days of abandoning the dinner table after the pumpkin pie is served to hit the stores. Many a Thanksgiving night used to be broken up as people planned and plotted which stores to hit to maximize their shopping dollars and avoid or beat the long lines. Bundled up to brave whatever weather they were facing, it was worth it for many to get a deal, despite the cold, crowds, and even fights over that last item. But COVID-19 brought a stop to the frenzied in-person shopping experience.
While some stores will have in-person events and sales in 2022, online shopping, including mobile shopping, will continue for several reasons. Mainly, consumers have gotten used to shopping online and are more aware of health risks. Additionally, AAA predicts travel will be up 13% from 2021, with estimates of 53 million Thanksgiving travelers. For people planning to travel to see friends and family, shopping online is a more convenient and safer experience that allows them to keep loved ones healthy and not miss out on the holiday fun.
So stay around the Thanksgiving table for another piece of pie and cup of coffee, enjoy your family and friends, and take advantage of online shopping.
#2 Online Shopping Deals Will Continue to Grow and Change
To adapt to post-pandemic shopping trends, stores will continue to focus on making things easier for consumers while also maximizing their sales. Some of these changes include offering deals as early as October and continuing through November, deals that last longer, and online specials. Plus, many of the specials that used to only be in stores are now online. With these changes, consumers can take advantage of deals comfortably and safely.
This trend was evident in Black Friday 2021 sales, which were down 1.3% on Black Friday itself and completely flat on Thanksgiving Day compared to 2020. However, consumers spent $109.8 billion in November 2021, which was up 11.9% from 2020. Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, stated, “Shoppers are being strategic in their gift shopping, buying much earlier in the season and being flexible about when they shop to make sure they get the best deals.”
This year, Walmart will continue “Black Friday Deals for Days,” a series of events held throughout November offering different deals on a variety of products. Walmart debuted this concept in 2020 instead of its typical in-store specials to provide a safer and more convenient shopping experience. In addition to the Black Friday events, Walmart will offer rollbacks on online and in-store products, and Walmart Plus members will have early access to deals.
In 2021, Amazon offered early Black Friday deals in November on everything from electronics and small household appliances to health and beauty supplies, toys, and more. They also had a 48-hour Black Friday event on November 25 and 26 that included thousands of deals from small and medium-sized companies, Black-owned businesses, independent artisans, and more. In addition, Amazon expanded their return policy on most items to January 31, 2022, to give consumers plenty of time to make changes if needed.
These are just some of the ways that businesses are adapting to accommodate Black Friday shoppers while still meeting financial goals.
#3 Supply Chain Issues Will Continue
Earlier and longer-lasting shopping deals offered by stores will hopefully help prevent some of the supply chain issues that have plagued businesses and consumers the last two years. From the domestic labor shortage to tight shipping containers to overseas factories plagues with COVID-19, some items may not make it in time for Christmas. Electronics, books, some toys, and even artificial Christmas trees were hard to come by in 2021 due to supply chain issues.
Consumers should shop early again this year, whether it’s online or in-person. And the specials that retailers are offering before Black Friday should help spur earlier shopping.
#4 More Shopping on Small Business Saturday
The 31.7 million small businesses in the US make up 99% of all businesses in the country. Unfortunately, many of them have been hard-hit by the pandemic and have had to lay people off, change their business structure, or shutter their doors.
Small Business Saturday, which is recognized on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is a shopping day dedicated to supporting locally owned businesses, from restaurants, stores, and service-based businesses to online stores. So while this day happens after Black Friday, it’s considered part of the ongoing holiday sales and a very important part of the shopping season.
The good news is that there’s been widespread support for small businesses during these tough times. Despite the pandemic, consumers spent a record $23.3 billion on Small Business Saturday in 2021 compared to $19.8 billion in 2020. Pre-pandemic spending in 2019 was $19.6 billion. More than 83% of consumers say they are willing to pay a little extra to support a small, local business.
#5 Consumers Will Spend More Money
Black Friday 2022 spending will be up, but not by much. Things like inflation, recent natural disasters, and loss of income will be factors. People have been waiting for this time of year to see values and special deals, especially for things that they don’t normally purchase or upgrades on things like electronics. And with so many early deals, competition on deals, and online availability, people will have more choices.
Consumers should have a lot of options for shopping during the 2022 Black Friday season. With online shopping, earlier and longer sales, and new opportunities, more people will be able to sneak in their shopping this holiday season while still enjoying time with family and friends.
If you would like to discuss your digital strategy for the 2022 holiday and beyond, contact us here.