Culture Hack

All Black Everything

Black Friday has certainly evolved over the years–from eager shoppers pitching tents in front of Best Buy on Thanksgiving night to pre-pandemic events that extended Black Friday to Cyber Monday and even Cyber Week. And while Black Friday sales, and Christmas in general, have been creeping earlier into November, this was the first time major retailers across categories opted for an extra early start. The extended timing created an interesting tension which pit savvy shoppers against expectant retailers in a game of chess, each trying to determine when and how the other would move.

The extension of the day into a full month resulted in a new dynamic that mixed deal hunting, gamification, shopper strategy, and consumerism to create a new and more intense experience which unfortunately came at a cost. The extended deal period replaced anticipation with anxiety. Instead of excitement about getting the best deals, shoppers were in a loop of early and often price checking determining if discounts have changed, if a percent off translated to a lower price and how stacking deals across platforms would secure the absolute best value.

Record breaking brick-and-mortar shopping, up 17% from 2021, and online Black Friday spending increasing by 2.3% proves shoppers are hungry to get back out and find the best deals. But at the same time, they are also keenly aware it requires a lot more effort. One has to wonder if the promise and perception of savings is worth the energy or should customers reclaim their time and shopping dollars to push for an experience that doesn’t require a degree in holiday shopper strategy.

–Myia Thompkins