Black Friday is ritual for American consumers, retailersWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become a shopping ritual for American consumers and retailers, according to Ainsworth Bailey, associate professor of marketing in the College of Business and Innovation at the University of Toledo.
“Shopping on Black Friday is their motivation. It gives the consumer the excitement of the game. It’s part of the mystique, almost like gambling. Shoppers can celebrate their ability to get the best deals,” Bailey said.
He reported that they have been discussing the shopping traditions and consumer behavior of Black Friday in his Integrated Marketing Communications undergraduate class this semester at UT, as well as in his Consumer Behavior class when he teaches it.
One chapter in the Consumer Behavior course focuses on consumer culture and traditions such as Black Friday. Marketers take advantage of the rituals tied to holidays, for example Thanksgiving followed by Black Friday and the day after Christmas for post-holiday returns and extreme markdowns, Bailey said.
The shopping tradition became known as Black Friday since it was considered the day of the year that retailers went into the black. It has become much more in recent years. Retailers have traditionally offered deep discounts as the major attraction for consumers on Black Friday that has motivated many to camp outside stores waiting for the early openings.
Those store openings are occurring earlier each year with many stores opening at 5 or 6 a.m. This year, a number of retailers are opening at midnight and some at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Some stores are offering deep discounts before Thanksgiving this year which reduces the effect of the shopping ritual on Black Friday. Best Buy and WalMart are offering free shipping on everything ordered online.
“It’s one of the major marketing thrusts this year to shop online and bypass the crowds on Black Friday,” Bailey said.
Bailey, who came to the U.S. from Jamaica, was unaware of the Black Friday tradition. His first encounter with the ritual was in Missouri when he went to an outlet mall that day and found no parking places and mobs of people standing outside the stores. A security guard there explained the shopping tradition to him.
“I would like to conduct specific research on human behavior associated with the shopping ritual of Black Friday to see what actually motivates people,” Bailey said.
The French have a similar shopping situation with six-week periods during summer and winter when the first day of the sales is their equivalent to Black Friday.
The markdowns get bigger as the sales progress but the selection is not as good, Bailey said.
Locally and nationally, big box retailers are offering deep discounts and extended hours on Black Friday. Check each retailer’s website for special hours and promotions.
Banner Mattress & Furniture stores are offering 48-month, interest-free financing on all products as well as one price for any size of each model in twin, full, queen and king sizes, according to the store manager at the Alexis Road location.
Westfield Franklin Park Mall will offer early openings and late closings, beginning at 3 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 26. Old Navy, Rave Motion Pictures and Claddagh Irish Pub will be open on Thanksgiving Day.
Visit the mall’s website (Westfield.com/franklinpark) for doorbuster sales such as Aeropostale offering 50 percent off the entire store, said Sara Young, marketing director. The third annual Carol Trees promotion with WRQN radio begins on Saturday, Nov. 27 at the mall.
Some stores at The Town Center at Levis Commons plan to open early on Black Friday, but the mall has no special promotions planned.
The Shops at Fallen Timbers are closed Thanksgiving Day but will open at 6 a.m. on Nov. 26. A number of Black Friday Festivities are planned, beginning at 10:30 a.m. as listed on their website (www.theshopsatfallentimbers.com). The Children’s Place is offering 4 a.m. Black Friday specials while JC Penney is offering 300 door buster deals on Friday at the Fallen Timbers store.