Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching rapidly.
But in some stores, Black Friday deals have been back for weeks or even months.
As supply chain issues took their toll during last year’s holiday shopping season, many retailers now have plenty of inventory, several industry experts said. Now they’re worried about demand amid record inflation.
As a result, retailers in Philadelphia and nationally have extended the holiday shopping season even longer than usual. Some big-box stores offered sales in early October in hopes of enticing shoppers before their holiday funds ran out, putting less pressure and urgency on days around Thanksgiving.
Stores “telegraph when and how often sales will take place and try to generate excitement and buzz around those sales,” said Bryan Eshelman, managing director of the retail practice at the global consultancy. AlixPartners. They “take a page from Amazon’s Prime Day approach, drive sales, allow early access for loyalty program members, set a timeline for when those sales go live.”
Target’s holiday sales began Oct. 6 — “earlier than ever,” according to the company. In mid-October, Amazon added a second Prime Day to kick off the shopping season, while Kohl’s “Black Friday Early Access” deals began Nov. 4.
“Black Friday began November 1 and lasts the entire month,” JC Penney spokeswoman Nina Quatrino said.
About 60% of Philadelphia retail executives said their companies launched holiday promotions at least one to two weeks earlier this year than a year earlier, up from 37% in 2021, according to a recent Deloitte survey. .
These earlier and more frequent sales, combined with the continued increase in online deals, should reduce the Black Friday mad rush for shoppers, experts said.
According to a Deloitte survey of local consumers, about 54% of Philadelphia shoppers say they plan to do their holiday shopping during Thanksgiving week, with the largest share, 37%, planning to shop on Cyber Monday.
“The line between what is Black Friday and what is Cyber Monday… [is] …is getting fuzzier and fuzzier,” said Jillian Hmurovic, assistant professor of marketing at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. “It fits into this bigger shopping season.”
With some shoppers making sales in October or early November, and others shopping for big gifts from the comfort of their own homes on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, more people’s schedules are released in the days that follow Thanksgiving.
Several local store owners said it benefits small businesses – not just on their own promotional day, Small Business Saturday, but all weekend.
“Black Friday was… [getting] …stronger for us every year,” said Sara Villari, owner and creative director of Occasionette, a gift shop with locations in Collingswood, East Passyunk and Chestnut Hill.
“People are free to go out on their main streets,” she added. “They don’t need to line up at Best Buy.”
At The Little Apple in Manayunk, Brandy Deieso has seen Black Friday get busier and busier in the nine years she’s owned the Main Street gift shop.
In Center City, Shibe Sports is also expecting a busy weekend, but it will be more or less the same since the Phillies’ run at the World Series and the Eagles’ 8-0 start boosted business this fall.
“Black Friday and Small Business Saturday aren’t a big deal after that,” co-owner Brian Michael said.
Heading into Thanksgiving week, Drexel’s Hmurovic said consumers are reporting “moderate enthusiasm” for shopping that week, due to both economic concerns and the long shopping season. holidays which took away some excitement from the weekend.
Already in Manayunk, “people are shopping earlier and buying more holiday items than in previous years,” Deieso said, noting that his shop is ahead of sales this month compared to the same period. Last year.
“I don’t know if they’re doing this because they’re nervous about what’s coming up or excited” about seeing family and friends, she said. “Maybe it’s a way to escape what’s going on in the economy or other stresses in their lives.”
On average, Philadelphians plan to spend $1,489 this holiday season, down 3% from last year, according to the Deloitte survey of nearly 5,000 area consumers. According to the survey, shoppers plan to spend less on retail purchases and more on experiences than they did last year.
Some will spend despite economic hardship: Of those polled by Deloitte, 41% said their financial outlook was worse than last year, which only 20% of respondents said in 2021.
“People are going to make the holidays happen this year, no matter what, for friends and families,” said Jenna Pogorzelski, senior executive and Philadelphia retail expert at Deloitte. “It could come from less gifts or [more] gift cards.”
And that’s sure to come through fewer blockbuster Black Friday deals at big mall stores, said Eshelman of AlixPartners.
“Not so long ago there were riots in stores as people chased shortages of key items and kicked down doors,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing for everyone that one day isn’t such a focal point.”
Still, retailers will be watching consumer behavior closely during Thanksgiving week and the start of the shopping season, Eshelman said.
“The big question that I don’t have a crystal ball on is, will consumers wait in hopes of better deals?” he said. “Or will they try to take advantage of the deals available to them now, fearing that, like previous seasons, if you don’t buy it when you see it, you won’t get it?”