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Is Black Friday Dying?

I know this seems two months too late, but at the time this is being written, it’s Cyber Monday. That means shoppers are in a frenzy ordering everything they need for the winter season and buying gifts galore for the holiday season. 

As I talked to many of my peers today, I realized that many of them did not go Black Friday shopping. And I’ve heard countless people joke that millenials and Gen Z are killing Black Friday, but I can’t help but wonder: Is it true? 

Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, in 2018, Black Friday shopping fell as much as 9 percent from 2017, and 4 percent from 2017 to 2016. The graph I attached below from Bloomberg, is one of the only sources I found that depicted Black Friday shopping as still growing. However, after taking a closer look, I found that the data was only taken from online shopping on the day known as “Black Friday”.

 For the purposes of this article, I will reference Black Friday as the shopping craze that happens in stores and malls all across America the day after Thanksgiving, when people will run each other over to snatch the best deals. Hence, this chart effectively shows that online shopping continues to rise, but mall-shopping may not necessarily. It is important to note that in the context of Cyber Monday, the rate at which Black Friday is growing is noticeably slower. Overall, all sources seem to agree that the amount of money US shoppers are willing to drop during Thanksgiving weekend keeps growing, but the manner in which consumers spend their money has shifted from brick and mortar stores to online browsing. In data collected by thebalance.com, the average total amount spent by a shopper from 2017 to 2018 rose from around $967 to $1007, as did the total amount spent in the US by 4.3%. And similar increases are seen in all the years prior, except in 2008 during the financial crisis, so it’s safe to say that Black Friday weekend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

As for online sales, in 2018, Cyber Monday sales were $7.9 billion in the US, a new record since its creation in 2005. It also, for the first time, edged out Black Friday’s $6.2 billion in sales. (Cnet) 

So yes, millenials and Gen Z may be slowly killing Black Friday, but they, by no means are killing Black Friday weekend. In fact, the online sales make sure that the Black Friday tradition lives on, regardless of whether it’s through physical stores or websites. 

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