From family to frenzy
December 3, 2015
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, there is much to be said about the way consumers purchase gifts. Times are changing in this technology centered world, and with that change comes an evolution in shopping trends.
In recent years, traditional Black Friday has changed. In the past, Black Friday consisted of all stores being closed on Thanksgiving Thursday in preparation for the mega sales that would occur on Friday morning. Now, with less and less shoppers wanting to stay up all night Thursday, stores have adjusted. This year for example, stores such as Target and Walmart opened at 6 p.m. Thursday night, making it more convenient for the shopper. Opening on Thursday night has turned Thanksgiving weekend into a less family oriented event, putting emphasis on shopping rather than family time. Companies now use Thanksgiving weekend to increase sales rather than allowing that time to be about family. With stores opening on Thanksgiving day, it forces people to work, creating less and less family time for retail workers all across the United States. Owatonna High School junior Chandler Buckhalter said, “I have made many mistakes in my life, working for Target on Black Friday was one of them.” Another key component in starting Black Friday deals sooner was due to the injuries that were occurring. With people standing in line for multiple hours, they were not going to leave empty handed. According to a New York Daily News article, this led to fights breaking out over the insanely low priced products. Black Friday craziness turned deadly on Nov. 28, 2008, when a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers who busted the door off of its hinges.
Cyber Monday has become a new staple in Black Friday shopping. Today, convenience is key. Why would someone stand in line at five o’clock in the morning when they can stay in the the comfort of their own home and still get the same great deal online? They wouldn’t. Cyber Monday refers to the online shopping on the Monday following Black Friday. Consumers have loved the ability to stay in the comfort of their own homes while still being able to get ridiculous deals. Cyber Monday has been growing rapidly in recent years with less people standing in lines and more clicking away at their computers to do their holiday shopping. According to Fortune Magazine,”2014 Cyber Monday sales eclipsed 2.04 billion dollars, increasing by 24% from the previous year.” This new streamlined system is more convenient than having to wait in long lines and compete with fellow customers for the limited amount of goods on Black Friday.
As a means to counter the e-commerce and bulk shopping that comes with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, American Express introduced the concept of “Small Business Saturday” in 2010. The purpose of Small Business Saturday is to patronize local businesses, even though they may not be able to match some of the ridiculous deals presented by nation-wide chain stores. The problem with this strategy is consumers don’t seem to value friendly service or have any desire to make local purchases. These days, it is all about which website or store can offer the product they want for the cheapest possible deal. Senior Nick Heisler states, “When I am shopping, I always go online. Websites always have what I am looking for, and I don’t have to leave my house. It doesn’t make sense to go to a local small business to make purchases when I can have it delivered to my house for a better price.” There has definitely been a culture shift when it comes to shopping, especially for the teen and young adult population.
Holiday shopping and shopping in general is a forever changing activity. As long as technology continues to improve, so will shopping. Only one thing is for sure about shopping trends- they will never stay the same.