Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year - is about a month away. What will the trends be this year? Will brick-and-mortar retailers have a comeback? Is Black Friday as big of a deal as it used to be for brands?
This week, Campaign US went to industry insiders to hear what they think we should expect from advertisers, retailers and the ecommerce world on the day after Thanksgiving. Find out their views below.
Kris McDermott, SVP, Ecommerce, Edelman
Black Friday still matters, but it’s shifted from the single most critical shopping day to one of many important omnichannel revenue sources. As they were last year, online sales are going to be a bright spot (last year on Black Friday there were $6.22 billion in online sales, which was a 23% increase over 2017). That growth largely stems from the changing nature of ecommerce shopping—consumers are purchasing more big-ticket items (appliances, furniture, luxury goods) on their phones and online in general. Americans are also adopting the click-and-collect behavior across categories and that could drive a lot of volume this year as it can provide a way to score the deals of Black Friday (and leverage many consumers’ preference of picking up large ticket items themselves) without the hassle of actually being in-store.
As each retailer looks to create their own version of Black Friday and consumers grow more accustomed to the 24/7 nature of mobile commerce, the retail calendar is becoming even more fragmented. Brands and retailers should think about Black Friday as a critical component to their calendar, but brands who hyperfocus on it at the expense of other key dates do so at their peril.
Mark Ballard, Vice President of Research, Merkle
For Merkle clients, Black Friday has been the second biggest e-commerce shopping day of the year for the past six years, surpassed only by Cyber Monday. In recent years, Thanksgiving Day and the days leading up to it have become increasingly busy shopping days as many retailers have launched their holiday promotions earlier.
In 2018, seven of the top 10 holiday shopping days took place the week beginning with Thanksgiving, accounting for 19 percent of all fourth-quarter sales. In 2019, Thanksgiving and Black Friday will be six days later than in 2018, so we expect to see retailers try harder than ever to entice shoppers to ramp up their holiday purchases before those two big days come around.
Nick Miaritis, EVP, VaynerMedia
Black Friday is no longer just about a single day, but rather a weeklong extravaganza of deals (it might be time for a rebrand to "Black Friday Week"). Most retailers will start their programs as early as the Monday prior and have their Black Friday ads drop the first week of November to get people excited for what’s to come. Cyber Monday 2019 will likely be the biggest ever. It falls almost a week closer to the Christmas holiday this year, which means there will be fewer days to shop before the shipping cutoff date. Retailers are going to need to heavy up ad spending around Cyber Monday to compensate for there being fewer shopping days. From an advertising standpoint, brands will need to evolve their approach to break through the noise. Leveraging IG stories in new ways, Google Discovery ads and new formats from Snap, Pinterest and other platforms will be key.
For those brave enough to head to the stores on Black Friday, make sure your phone is charged, you have plenty of water and shoes you can run in – things can get pretty scary out there.
Elizabeth Fermon VP, Associate Communications Planning Director, Mediahub
If Fortnite’s blackhole stunt two weeks ago was any indication of the future, I’m placing my Black Friday bets on gaming. If you haven’t heard the entire Battle Royale Island was sucked into space, wiping out the entire map and rendering the game unplayable. And 6MM gamers tuned into the live event.. to see a blank screen. They watched helplessly as the universe seemingly came to an end. And not only did they clamor to their screens, they drove the kind of publicity most brands dream of. An unavailable game drove 332MM social conversations in 48 hours. As the gaming industry reaches unimaginable heights this year, consumers will put major dollars behind these splurges. The draw is not only big savings on games and consoles, but a chance to snag the latest gadgets and game like a pro.