Black Friday Has Become A 4th Quarter Promotion

According to a new report from Cofactor by Lana McGilvray, for the duration of the holiday season the abundance of retail communications and promotions, specifically tied to Black Friday, is alarming.

Black Friday has spread starting as early as October, with Best Buy kicking off their holiday communications on October 6th, and across other categories that range from Chevy offering Black Friday ‘all month long’ to Big Lots where Black Friday is ‘everyday,’ to your local dental office trying to get in on the Black Friday action.

This trend has led to a 6% increase in visits to retail sites online during October compared to last year, and a 3% increase in time spent on leading retailer sites.

There was also a 39% increase in mobile traffic to these sites during October, and a 6% increase during November. Tablet visits were down across the whole survey period, from October right through Black Friday, says the report.

According to Cofactor, this increased activity led to a certain amount of consumer fatigue during the holiday weekend itself. Website traffic decreased 33% on Thanksgiving, and 34% on Black Friday. Additionally, time spent on sites by mobile users decreased 5% on Thanksgiving, and traffic from tablets decreased by 48% on the same day, compared to last year. On Cyber Monday, there was a 17% increase in phone browsing, but a 3% decrease in overall time spent on the site. 

This year, multi-channel retailers fought harder than ever against Amazon by posting more Black Friday deals online, and hitting the “Holiday Go” button earlier, says the report. The aggressive pricing and promotion strategy has flattened the promotion period from a few days to almost two months. According to the holiday promotions data, expanded holiday promotional timeframes drove a big surge in online and mobile traffic, page views, and time spent on retailers’ websites throughout the month of October and November, as well as on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

In the battle against Amazon, real-time, localized digital activation at national scale, will be the golden opportunity for retailers during this holiday season and year-round. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets has created an ultra-connected mobile consumer, which has permanently disrupted the shopping experience. Mobile devices have become a habit integrated into our daily lives that has dramatically changed the ways we interact with the world.

It’s clear, says the report, that consumers are increasingly digital and mobile. Brands need to consider how consumers already interact with researching online from their devices and take advantage of that behavior. While digital technology and tools may cut research time down and help pinpoint cost-saving deals, 90% of shopping still occurs within three to five miles of consumers’ homes.

While the allure of Black Friday as a stand alone event has lessened, customers’ love for deals has not, concludes the report.  Retailers that forge new paths and break through the clutter can add to their bottom line. As brands try to figure out omni-channel communications, those retailers that shift to an integrated communications approach, will win.

For more from Cofactor, please visit here.


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