Historically, Black Friday has always been the biggest retail sales day of the year. It’s the one day where retailers’ financials can almost instantly go from red to black, and for many consumers, waking up at dawn, standing in long lines and fighting off other shoppers for doorbuster deals is a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition.

NGS_blog Black Friday

Black Friday Boycotters

Recently, though, a slew of prominent retailers have garnered attention by boycotting Black Friday. Instead of blasting out constant advertisements, they’re asking consumers to take the day to reflect, spend time with family or do something for the greater good. For instance, REI’s Opt Outside campaign encourages consumers to forgo busy shopping malls for the outdoors. Everlane’s Black Friday Fund puts a spotlight not on dollars or deals, but on the company’s workers, with the day’s proceeds going toward an employee wellness program at their LA t-shirt factory.

RetailNext forecasts Black Friday will no longer be the biggest sales day of the year in 2016.

Like it or not, but Black Friday is no longer the biggest retail sales day of the year. In fact, according to in-store analytics firm RetailNext, Black Friday is expected to only be the third biggest shopping day in overall sales and the second biggest traffic day for stores during the holiday season. According to RetailNext, Super Saturday (December 17) and Friday December 23 are projected to beat Black Friday for overall sales, while Super Saturday is expected to see more store traffic.

Holiday Shopping Has Already Begun

Interestingly, though, a new consumer trend appears to be emerging: While enthusiasm for Black Friday may be on the decline, many shoppers are looking for holiday deals earlier in the season. According to a recent survey by Market Track, 49 percent of consumers will complete their holiday shopping lists before Thanksgiving, with 27 percent projected to be done even before November 1.

With consumers already in “buy now” mode for the holidays, the pressure is on retailers to be able to turn around holiday inventory early and keep products in stock over the next few months. Additionally, as consumers display increasingly omnichannel behavior, it behooves retailers to offer more holistic advertising strategies throughout the fall and early winter.

Early, Omnichannel Strategies Are Key

Perhaps the biggest takeaway for retailers this year is that the holiday shopping season has evolved. Black Friday may not bring in the highest sales figures anymore, but there are new tactics to leverage to capture consumers’ attention. By marketing holiday deals to shoppers much earlier in the season, for instance, and acknowledging the increasing convergence of physical and digital retail, retailers have an opportunity to capture significant sales starting today right up until the end of December.

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