[Off-the-topic] Black Friday statistics and predictions: Should we start calling Thanksgiving ‘Black Thursday?’

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to wake up on November 27 of this year, turn the TV on to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (amid grumbles from your significant other, saying that all he/she wants to watch today is football) and get started on the turkey. Thereafter, you’ll enjoy an incredible day feasting on everything pumpkin-flavored with family and friends, reminiscing about old times and making new memories… after which, you will go home and go to bed.

This scenario may ring true for many Americans, but not all; because this year, retailers just don’t believe that one day of chaotic shopping is enough, and are extending their Black Friday into Thanksgiving. That’s right – Thanksgiving has a new alter ego, and it’s Black Thursday.

As many as six major chain stores – Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, K-Mart and BonTon, to be precise – have confirmed Thanksgiving Day hours of operation. Whether this will help the stores by offering a deal quicker than others, or hurt them by consumers’ disgust at the disregard for the holiday, we don’t know.

What we do know is that the tradition of Black Friday shopping has changed tremendously over the years, in part due to the rise of technology and online shopping. Less people are shopping in stores, and more are hopping on the internet; and with Thanksgiving being less than a month away from Christmas this year, we can only assume that this shift to online and mobile shopping will increase, given the shorter holiday shopping season. This concept has pressured retailers into opening their doors earlier to beat out the competition, no matter what kind of family holiday it may be.

Here’s a glimpse of some Black Friday statistics over the past couple of years:

  • The overall in-store sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday rose 2.3 percent from 2012 to 2013, resulting in $12.3 billion (source: CNN Money).
  • The overall online sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday rose 18.5 percent from 2012 to 2013, to $1,964 (source: TechCrunch).
  • A study that examined mobile shopping activity across 20 retailers during Thanksgiving and Black Friday found that total mobile visits increased by 93 percent (source: CMO.com).
  • Also, mobile sales reached 21.8 percent of total online sales in 2013 – an increase of nearly 43 percent from 2012 (source: TechCrunch).
  • As mobile pay is on the rise, PayPal reported a 121 percent increase in global mobile payments in 2013, compared to the year before (source: TechCrunch).
  • Even before its final round of deals kicked in at Walmart on the morning of Black Friday 2013, the retailer announced that sales had exceeded last year’s record-breaking results with 10 million transactions completed between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving (source: CMO.com).
  • In addition to that big sales surge at the end of the Thanksgiving week, Cyber Monday sales peaked between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, with sales in that hour alone totaling $150 million (source: CMO.com).

It has been reported that four major chain stores — Dillard’s, Burlington, REI, American Girl — will stay closed on Thanksgiving Day. It is only a matter of time to see which other retailers will follow suit and either keep their doors closed for the holiday, or open them up for the early birds.

Many different outlets are reporting some predictions for this year’s Black Friday; some of these predictions include:

  • Cyber Monday will dominate, while Black Friday will fall behind; Store-wide sales and discounts on Cyber Monday will outshine most of the offerings on Black Friday.
  • Extra-early Black Friday deals will be a ploy for stores to capitalize on the holiday momentum and confuse shoppers, so Black Friday sales will start weeks early and further dilute the official big day.

What’s your plan this Thanksgiving? Will you be out shopping, or spending time with the family? Sound off in the comments section!

Additional sources: Think Progress, The Black Friday, Wishpond, USA Today

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