The Thrill of the Bargain: Black Friday


As a marketing and advertising freak, it's always interesting to see the lengths brands go through during the holiday season, and recently, even more so during Black Friday. I'd been watching so much being done - campaigns, sales, etc - but never had I experienced it in the flesh.  So this year, I packed my bags and flew to the USA for up-close encounter on what is the most extravagant shopping spree of the season. Of course, I wasn't alone. I was joined by two experienced and enthusiastic Black Friday shoppers, Paola and Carlos.

Our plan of attack was simple: hit the stores at 9pm (on Thursday) and pull an all-nighter. (with some power naps in between.)  Two of Miami's largest shopping centers and then the major retailers... WalMart, Best Buy, Macy's, the list went on. In the end, it was a 20-hour exhilarating shop-a-thon. 

Here's how it all went down: 

Check out my Black Friday photo album.

Getting down to business:

Retailers opened a early as 9pm on Thursday, Thanksgiving night, hence jumpstarting the holiday shopping season hours before. The result was 30% of Americans chosing to buy during Thanksgiving instead of Black Friday, according to polls. "Black Friday is still a huge day for retailers but is losing significance as chains start promotions earlier in the week both in stores and online. ShopperTrak, which measures foot traffic at stores across the country, estimated that sales fell 1.8 percent on Black Friday itself yet rose 2.7 percent for the overall weekend, which included Thanksgiving day." (Source:

It was a busy, busy day. The top destinations during Black Friday were: department stores, discount chains and last, but not least, electronics store. A record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the Black Friday weekend with the average buyer spending US$423, considerably higher than last year with 226 million shoppers spending an average of US$398. Through both channels - online and in stores- customers felt motivated by brands' super deals and the fact that retail chains got started even sooner.

I do, however, feel it's important to notice how several marketers are becoming concerned about the extension of Black Friday, and its long-term effects. Take strategist Daniel Burrus, for instance: "By extending Black Friday and also having Black Saturday, Black Sunday, Black Monday, Black Tuesday, etc., all of a sudden that special day becomes less special, and consumers do remember. That means next year, and the year after that, Black Friday becomes less of a driver to get people into the stores... it has the potential to dilute this special shopping day’s power next year, which will, in turn, hurt retailers." (Source: Business2Community)


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