Black Friday Will Not Be The Biggest Shopping Day Of 2016, Experts Say

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving presents a time of chaos in the world of shopping. From the latest toys, furniture, and appliances, to the latest gadgets, an overwhelming amount of people visit retail stores throughout the entire day.

According to The Balance, 74.2 million people shopped on Black Friday in 2015. However, the numbers are declining, as 87 million shopped in 2014, 92 million shopped in 2013, and 85 million shopped in 2011.

Because of these numbers, another day seems to potentially eclipse this shopping-day juggernaut.

According to Business Insider, the new day for top sales will belong to December 23, two days before Christmas. In addition, Shelley Kohan of RetailNext asserts that “the significance of Black Friday has waned in recent years as retailers have started launching their post-Thanksgiving sales earlier, with many now starting them on Thanksgiving Day.”

Kohan has a point. Especially, since many retailers have decided to open their stores on the evening of Thanksgiving to avoid long lines at four or five o’clock in the morning.

Small Business Trends also affirms the December 23 date, based on another comment from Kohan.

“This year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, most shoppers will want to cut short their shopping early on Saturday, December 24, leaving the day before, Friday, as retail’s biggest opportunity for sales. For store visits, Super Saturday will lead the way, with Black Friday a very close second.”

The history of the term “Black Friday” spans nearly 150 years. Originally, the term was not used for a shopping spree, but a result of the crash in the United States gold market, according to History. However, despite the inaccurate accounts of retailers earning a profit only during the Thanksgiving season, as well as slave owners buying slaves at a discounted rate, History reveals the truth behind the modern-day use of the term.

“The true story behind Black Friday, however, is not as sunny as retailers might have you believe. Back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic. Shoplifters would also take advantage of the bedlam in stores to make off with merchandise, adding to the law enforcement headache.”

To add to this, there have been a slew of crime-related incidents that occurred on Black Friday. In 2008, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour, a temporary seasonal employee at Walmart, was fatally killed during her 5 am shift after about 200 people stampeded the store in hopes to capture the best deals.

In 2013, 61-year-old Ronnie Sharp and 35-year-old Christopher Jackson were arguing over a parking lot space at a Walmart in Claypool Hill, VA. Sharp pulled out a gun, as well as stabbed Jackson in the arm, cutting him down to the bone. Both men were jailed for the incident.

Situations such as these elicit great concern for retail stores, and causes many to mandate better policies for shoppers. For instance, Walmart recently sent out a press release, promising a better sales experience for this year’s Black Friday. Their solution is to open earlier, which would hopefully give customers a wider range to find good deals.

Even with this, the stigma of Black Friday shopping will not go away, and this is shown by the declining numbers. Along with the growing popularity of Cyber Monday, according to Forbes, along with the popularity of December 23 last-minute shopping, the Black Friday phenomenon seems to be fading away.

[Featured Image By Donald Traill/AP Images]