As the holiday season begins, you might be getting a lot of emails about Black Friday sales. Over time, the store openings for many retailers on Black Friday has been getting earlier and earlier, even to the point of stores opening on Thanksgiving. Check out the chart below for opening hours over time for some major retailers:
But despite all of this hype over Black Friday sales, consumer spending has fallen. The Manhattan Institute explains it like this:
It used to be that you would eat on Thursday and shop on Friday (or work on Friday). So what happened? The 2008 financial crisis and economic meltdown happened — and the American spender went on strike.
In 2008 and 2009, consumer spending actually fell — for the first time since 1980. And this time around, the drop was a lot steeper.
Though Americans’ spending has gone up since 2009, it hasn’t recovered all that much. Between 2000 and 2007, consumer spending rose by 22.9 percent after inflation. Between 2007 and last year, it’s risen only 8.3 percent.
Retailers, then, became desperate around the financial crisis — and so they tried to make their customers desperate by inciting a panic: If you don’t shop on our national holiday, you won’t be able to afford presents for your kids.
Walmart started offering its Black Friday deals on Thursday at 8 p.m., and then Thursday at 6 p.m., and other stores competing for the same customers had no choice but to follow.
Seven years later, the exhausting fact is: It hasn’t worked.
The article goes on to explain the incentives for both retailers and shoppers in the whole Black Friday craze, and even relates Black Friday tactics to the government’s attempts to keep interest rates artificially low to encourage borrowing and spending, with the same conclusion: it just doesn’t work.
So we hope you kicked back and enjoyed your turkey on Thanksgiving. There’s no need to rush to the store on Black Friday.