Every year the kickoff time for Black Friday shopping has been earlier than the year before and this year promises to be the same. Last year a handful of malls broke tradition and decided to have midnight sales as Thanksgiving rolled into Black Friday and because of the success, more malls throughout the country are planning midnight openings this year.
"Retailers are trying to figure out a way to bring back some luster to Black Friday because it has been a disappointment in recent years," said Jay McIntosh of Ernst & Young. "...Much of retail is about creating an event, and that's probably what they're trying to do."
Are Shoppers Buying Into It?Based on last year's surveys, the answer is yes. According to market research company, BIGresearch, 60 million consumers went shopping last year on Black Friday, which was an eight-percent increase over the previous year.
Nevertheless, even with the increase of shoppers, many of the retailers who slept in instead of joining in the midnight competition woke up to nightmarish Black Friday sales figures.
The usual frenzied surge of shoppers banging at the stores' doors was less than stellar for some. As the day progressed some retailers reported seeing crowds, but the traffic was spread out throughout the day instead of the usual early morning surge from years past.
No Long Lines Equal No Good DealsAlthough this could have meant more manageable checkout lines, there is a certain luster missing when crowds are thin on Black Friday. Consumers often assume if a store is not crowded and the lines by the register are short, it is because the store is not offering good enough deals. Unlike other times of the year, consumers expect to have to wait in long lines and a dead store on Black Friday is simply no fun.
Jumping on the Midnight BandwagonTo avoid similar problems this year and to meet the competition, several malls have jumped on the midnight bandwagon. Many retailers who continue to hold out to morning openings have inched it up an hour or two. Others are still on the fence waiting to see what their immediate competition is planning before they commit to when they will open.
See Also: List of Outlet Malls Opening at Midnight on Black Friday