Why the Holiday Shopping Season Is More Than Black Friday

Sabrina Esposito

The holiday shopping season no longer starts on Black Friday. That much is clear as 2021 Black Friday results become official.

So, is Black Friday dead? No. It’s still important. But retailers are putting less focus on it as a single-day event. Instead, they’re redefining Black Friday as a series of online and offline events occurring throughout November. 

In 2020, Walmart responded to a need to make shopping safer during the era of social distancing by splitting up Black Friday into a series of three separate events that kicked off online. That approach carried over into 2021. For instance, Target launched a series of holiday deals starting October 31. Meanwhile, retailers continued to promote the importance of Cyber Monday, which is the Monday following Black Friday and an increasingly popular event for finding online deals. 

Related content on the Reputation blog: Local SEO Holiday To-Do List for Retailers

But retailers had been expanding beyond Black Friday as a single-day event for the past few years. Thanks to Amazon ramping up its online shopping events in the fall, more retailers began to promote holiday deals well in advance of Black Friday. In 2021, encouraging consumers to start their shopping earlier was especially important because the supply chain shortage threatened inventory availability. Consumers responded by getting a jump on holiday shopping, as evidenced by flat Cyber Monday sales this year

“With a large part of the day complete, consumer spending on Cyber Monday is not growing as fast as it did last year,” Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst for Adobe, said in a statement. “While the spending may pick up during the evening hours on the West Coast, it reaffirms that many consumers had fulfilled their shopping urge earlier in the season.”

According to Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting, Sensormatic Solutions, “Retailers kicked off holiday deals early this year to spread traffic peaks out throughout the season, helping to avoid crowded stores on Black Friday, better track and plan inventory, and create an improved holiday shopping experience. 

According to Sensormatic Solutions 2021 Holiday Consumer Sentiment Survey, 65% of U.S. consumers plan to shop in-store this holiday season for product-related reasons, like browsing for gift ideas or to see/touch products before buying. Inventory inaccuracy is especially detrimental during this time of year because demand is at its peak and there is a greater risk of lost revenue, productivity, and shoppers.

Related content on the Reputation blog: How Retailers Can Prepare for an Uncertain Holiday Season

Tips for Retailers This Holiday Season

As retailers and consumers both redefine the holiday season beyond Black Friday, we suggest that retailers:

Contact Reputation

Win holiday shoppers by putting digital tools to work for your business. Reputation helps small businesses synthesize customer reviews from all over the digital world to improve how businesses operate. 

Take a look at our Reviews and Review Booster to learn more about how Reputation can help you. 

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