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(The Atlantic)   There is a strong economic case against Black Friday, but no one will ever follow it because the brainwashed masses all want to save a few bucks   (theatlantic.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Black Fridays, Capital Economics, total sales  
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3452 clicks; posted to Business » on 30 Nov 2013 at 12:48 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-30 12:10:25 PM  
I would posit that consumers have a set amount they are going to spend on holiday gifts.  It just comes down to how many weeks they spread it over.   As a consumer deeper discounts at some point in the shopping season may help me out because I can buy more items for my budget.  But that doesn't help the store any.
 
2013-11-30 01:02:02 PM  

BizarreMan: I would posit that consumers have a set amount they are going to spend on holiday gifts.  It just comes down to how many weeks they spread it over.   As a consumer deeper discounts at some point in the shopping season may help me out because I can buy more items for my budget.  But that doesn't help the store any.


This.  The only way Black Friday sales could lead to more overall sales would be if somehow the extra hours/overtime pay from workers who had to work Thursday night were enough to increase the overall spending budget of the shoppers.

Also, my fat pencil statistical analysis of the data shows no trend.
 
2013-11-30 01:03:37 PM  
The brainwash masses are NOT saving a few bucks.  If they were, retailers wouldn't be pushing it.
 
2013-11-30 01:06:14 PM  
The reason for these end of year sales is to reduce inventory of items that move slowly or not at all. It cleans out the warehouses and reduces what you have to claim as assets for taxes.

Also, why in the fark did the article have a graph with super varied data points that they put an average line through? The data obviously showed no pattern.
 
2013-11-30 01:13:14 PM  
The only strong case to be made here is that  Subby does not understand the meaning of the word "strong" when looking at a correlation.
 
2013-11-30 01:20:51 PM  

gozar_the_destroyer: The reason for these end of year sales is to reduce inventory of items that move slowly or not at all. It cleans out the warehouses and reduces what you have to claim as assets for taxes.

Also, why in the fark did the article have a graph with super varied data points that they put an average line through? The data obviously showed no pattern.


wisconsinhappyfarm.com
 
2013-11-30 01:24:45 PM  

RogermcAllen: BizarreMan: I would posit that consumers have a set amount they are going to spend on holiday gifts.  It just comes down to how many weeks they spread it over.   As a consumer deeper discounts at some point in the shopping season may help me out because I can buy more items for my budget.  But that doesn't help the store any.

This.  The only way Black Friday sales could lead to more overall sales would be if somehow the extra hours/overtime pay from workers who had to work Thursday night were enough to increase the overall spending budget of the shoppers.

Also, my fat pencil statistical analysis of the data shows no trend.


Is that right? If you can get people in the door for a deal that would not otherwise exist, you might also get them to stay for normal shopping.

I also have this cynical view that the things which are on sale for Black Friday either sold poorly during the normal season or were created and marketed specifically for the purpose of Black Friday sales.
 
2013-11-30 01:26:49 PM  

gozar_the_destroyer: The reason for these end of year sales is to reduce inventory of items that move slowly or not at all. It cleans out the warehouses and reduces what you have to claim as assets for taxes.

Also, why in the fark did the article have a graph with super varied data points that they put an average line through? The data obviously showed no pattern.


I'm not sure, but the author pretty clearly mentioned the lack of correlation. I'm guessing the trend line was added just because laypeople like seeing trend lines.
 
2013-11-30 01:29:54 PM  

BizarreMan: I would posit that consumers have a set amount they are going to spend on holiday gifts.  It just comes down to how many weeks they spread it over.   As a consumer deeper discounts at some point in the shopping season may help me out because I can buy more items for my budget.  But that doesn't help the store any.


It's something like a Tragedy of the Commons.  If no stores opened on Thursday or Friday, then all of those sales would still happen on Saturday and Sunday (or throughout the rest of the Christmas season).  But as soon as one store starts opening on Friday, then they get a jump on all the other stores and people will have bought their stuff at whichever store opened earlier, so the other retailers have to start opening too.  Then the first opening keeps getting pushed back further and further as stores try to find that extra two-hour bump when their store, and theirs alone, is open.

It works the same way from the consumer side as well.  If nobody shopped on Thursday or Friday then the exact same deals would be available on Saturday morning.  But as soon as a few people decide to go early, then everybody has to go early or risk being left out on the best sales.
 
2013-11-30 01:37:44 PM  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: gozar_the_destroyer: The reason for these end of year sales is to reduce inventory of items that move slowly or not at all. It cleans out the warehouses and reduces what you have to claim as assets for taxes.

Also, why in the fark did the article have a graph with super varied data points that they put an average line through? The data obviously showed no pattern.


Take the lines off that and it looks like a subway map.
 
2013-11-30 01:40:44 PM  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: gozar_the_destroyer: The reason for these end of year sales is to reduce inventory of items that move slowly or not at all. It cleans out the warehouses and reduces what you have to claim as assets for taxes.

Also, why in the fark did the article have a graph with super varied data points that they put an average line through? The data obviously showed no pattern.

[wisconsinhappyfarm.com image 467x273]


The Ravens are TOO DAMN HIGH.
 
2013-11-30 02:02:27 PM  
What I don't get is everytime a lunatic goes on a rampage with a gun, it's nothing but gun control talk the next two to three weeks. Yet every year people are injure or killed during Black Friday by hundreds of idiots, yet there is no talk about stopping it.

I think federal holidays should be a mandated day off for non emergency personnel, anyone who must work should receive double overtime (or adjusted salary with equals double overtime for said period of time).  I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.

And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.

/but then again I want to live in a logical world, so I'm just dreaming.
 
2013-11-30 02:19:57 PM  

casual disregard: RogermcAllen: BizarreMan: I would posit that consumers have a set amount they are going to spend on holiday gifts.  It just comes down to how many weeks they spread it over.   As a consumer deeper discounts at some point in the shopping season may help me out because I can buy more items for my budget.  But that doesn't help the store any.

This.  The only way Black Friday sales could lead to more overall sales would be if somehow the extra hours/overtime pay from workers who had to work Thursday night were enough to increase the overall spending budget of the shoppers.

Also, my fat pencil statistical analysis of the data shows no trend.

Is that right? If you can get people in the door for a deal that would not otherwise exist, you might also get them to stay for normal shopping.

I also have this cynical view that the things which are on sale for Black Friday either sold poorly during the normal season or were created and marketed specifically for the purpose of Black Friday sales.


Lets say you make $100 a year.  Rent/Utilities/Food cost $80/yr, so you have $20 left over for Christmas presents.  There are several ways you can spend your money.

1.  Spend $20 at black Friday sales
2.  Spend $5 a week for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas
3. Spend $20 the day before Christmas

In all three scenarios you spent $20, because you only had $20 to spend.  Black Friday sales just push the market towards situation 1.  An individual store might win out if they can draw more of your $20 than the others (why we have escalating antics), but the overall market does not win because they did not get you to spend more than $20.

Yes, you are correct that the deals are usually for shiat items (Walmart's XBox 360 without a hard drive).
 
2013-11-30 02:29:04 PM  
the batteries, the batteries are never on sale
 
2013-11-30 02:52:34 PM  
All it is is free promotion for places like FatMart.
 
2013-11-30 03:04:46 PM  

RogermcAllen: casual disregard: RogermcAllen: BizarreMan: I would posit that consumers have a set amount they are going to spend on holiday gifts.  It just comes down to how many weeks they spread it over.   As a consumer deeper discounts at some point in the shopping season may help me out because I can buy more items for my budget.  But that doesn't help the store any.

This.  The only way Black Friday sales could lead to more overall sales would be if somehow the extra hours/overtime pay from workers who had to work Thursday night were enough to increase the overall spending budget of the shoppers.

Also, my fat pencil statistical analysis of the data shows no trend.

Is that right? If you can get people in the door for a deal that would not otherwise exist, you might also get them to stay for normal shopping.

I also have this cynical view that the things which are on sale for Black Friday either sold poorly during the normal season or were created and marketed specifically for the purpose of Black Friday sales.

Lets say you make $100 a year.  Rent/Utilities/Food cost $80/yr, so you have $20 left over for Christmas presents.  There are several ways you can spend your money.

1.  Spend $20 at black Friday sales
2.  Spend $5 a week for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas
3. Spend $20 the day before Christmas

In all three scenarios you spent $20, because you only had $20 to spend.  Black Friday sales just push the market towards situation 1.  An individual store might win out if they can draw more of your $20 than the others (why we have escalating antics), but the overall market does not win because they did not get you to spend more than $20.

Yes, you are correct that the deals are usually for shiat items (Walmart's XBox 360 without a hard drive).


It amuses me that most of you aren't realizing that people almost exclusively use credit cards for Black Friday purchases -- because, in general, the majority of the people doing the "Black Friday" deals tend to be middle to lower class people who make poor decisions (yes, you can in fact find the demographics).  All of your "spreading out the money" math doesn't mean shiat -- people overspend with money they do not have, and the "retailers making more" is real.  They continue to spend at Christmas time, but have instead spent net more, again, on credit.

People are being fleeced, and being fleeced on things that aren't even deals, because we're big fans of mass hysteria in the US.
 
2013-11-30 03:54:59 PM  

tjsands1118: What I don't get is everytime a lunatic goes on a rampage with a gun, it's nothing but gun control talk the next two to three weeks. Yet every year people are injure or killed during Black Friday by hundreds of idiots, yet there is no talk about stopping it.

I think federal holidays should be a mandated day off for non emergency personnel, anyone who must work should receive double overtime (or adjusted salary with equals double overtime for said period of time).  I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.

And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.

/but then again I want to live in a logical world, so I'm just dreaming.


That's $14,500,000,000.00 a year.  Which would go right back into the economy and all, but... that seems silly.
 
2013-11-30 03:57:57 PM  

TyrantII: The brainwash masses are NOT saving a few bucks.  If they were, retailers wouldn't be pushing it.


Gee look, it's as if this guy thinks most BigBox  B/M retailers don't normally markup items at ~50% over cost.
 
2013-11-30 04:04:39 PM  

BeesNuts: tjsands1118: What I don't get is everytime a lunatic goes on a rampage with a gun, it's nothing but gun control talk the next two to three weeks. Yet every year people are injure or killed during Black Friday by hundreds of idiots, yet there is no talk about stopping it.

I think federal holidays should be a mandated day off for non emergency personnel, anyone who must work should receive double overtime (or adjusted salary with equals double overtime for said period of time).  I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.

And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.

/but then again I want to live in a logical world, so I'm just dreaming.

That's $14,500,000,000.00 a year.  Which would go right back into the economy and all, but... that seems silly.


I suggest you check your math again.
 
2013-11-30 04:08:42 PM  

Leader O'Cola: TyrantII: The brainwash masses are NOT saving a few bucks.  If they were, retailers wouldn't be pushing it.

Gee look, it's as if this guy thinks most BigBox  B/M retailers don't normally markup items at ~50% over cost.


50%? Maybe for high velocity items. More like 500% for most items. Even more for durables that have not associated items that are worth carrying, like a per built computer.

Unless it is a loss leader, like a games console or DVD player that they can sell you over priced items to use with it.

/have worked at a couple of big box stores
//looking up items for delivery lead in times for out of stocks shows you so much info
 
2013-11-30 04:17:43 PM  
So, let me get this straight:

1. Article admits there is no correlation between overall retail sales and Black Friday sales
2. The article that the writer links to (and basically just summarizes) admits there is no correlation between overall retail sales and Black Friday sales
3. The original data is behind a paywall, but I'm just going to guess there is no correlation between overall retail sales and Black Friday sales from eyeballing the graph.  (Lazy, but hey I don't have the original data).
4. Fark headline: "There is a strong economic case against Black Friday, but no one will ever follow it because the brainwashed masses all want to save a few bucks."  Also, there's a negative trend line.

www.smbc-comics.com
 
2013-11-30 05:03:49 PM  

haywatchthis: the batteries, the batteries are never on sale


They were at Home Depot.
 
2013-11-30 05:16:41 PM  

Leader O'Cola: BeesNuts: tjsands1118: What I don't get is everytime a lunatic goes on a rampage with a gun, it's nothing but gun control talk the next two to three weeks. Yet every year people are injure or killed during Black Friday by hundreds of idiots, yet there is no talk about stopping it.

I think federal holidays should be a mandated day off for non emergency personnel, anyone who must work should receive double overtime (or adjusted salary with equals double overtime for said period of time).  I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.

And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.

/but then again I want to live in a logical world, so I'm just dreaming.

That's $14,500,000,000.00 a year.  Which would go right back into the economy and all, but... that seems silly.

I suggest you check your math again.


I got $13,928,365,954.80.  How is his math so wrong?

Population - 313,914,040
Percentage over 18 - 76.5%
Federal minimum wage - $7.25

A*B*C*8 = ~$14 billion.

I guess if you wanted to do this for every federal holiday (and add in Thanksgiving Friday as a federal holiday as well), that would end up being 153,212,025,502.8 or $153 billion per year.
 
2013-11-30 05:57:05 PM  

rugman11: Leader O'Cola: BeesNuts: tjsands1118: What I don't get is everytime a lunatic goes on a rampage with a gun, it's nothing but gun control talk the next two to three weeks. Yet every year people are injure or killed during Black Friday by hundreds of idiots, yet there is no talk about stopping it.

I think federal holidays should be a mandated day off for non emergency personnel, anyone who must work should receive double overtime (or adjusted salary with equals double overtime for said period of time).  I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.

And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.

/but then again I want to live in a logical world, so I'm just dreaming.

That's $14,500,000,000.00 a year.  Which would go right back into the economy and all, but... that seems silly.

I suggest you check your math again.

I got $13,928,365,954.80.  How is his math so wrong?

Population - 313,914,040
Percentage over 18 - 76.5%
Federal minimum wage - $7.25

A*B*C*8 = ~$14 billion.

I guess if you wanted to do this for every federal holiday (and add in Thanksgiving Friday as a federal holiday as well), that would end up being 153,212,025,502.8 or $153 billion per year.


well in the post he/she replied to, the wording did indicate federal holidayS so that was exactly my point. That the $15B or so was off by an order of magnitude.
 
2013-11-30 06:17:09 PM  

Leader O'Cola: rugman11: Leader O'Cola: BeesNuts: tjsands1118: What I don't get is everytime a lunatic goes on a rampage with a gun, it's nothing but gun control talk the next two to three weeks. Yet every year people are injure or killed during Black Friday by hundreds of idiots, yet there is no talk about stopping it.

I think federal holidays should be a mandated day off for non emergency personnel, anyone who must work should receive double overtime (or adjusted salary with equals double overtime for said period of time).  I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.

And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.

/but then again I want to live in a logical world, so I'm just dreaming.

That's $14,500,000,000.00 a year.  Which would go right back into the economy and all, but... that seems silly.

I suggest you check your math again.

I got $13,928,365,954.80.  How is his math so wrong?

Population - 313,914,040
Percentage over 18 - 76.5%
Federal minimum wage - $7.25

A*B*C*8 = ~$14 billion.

I guess if you wanted to do this for every federal holiday (and add in Thanksgiving Friday as a federal holiday as well), that would end up being 153,212,025,502.8 or $153 billion per year.

well in the post he/she replied to, the wording did indicate federal holidayS so that was exactly my point. That the $15B or so was off by an order of magnitude.


Ah, I see.
 
2013-11-30 06:36:10 PM  
There are some specialty retailers where 2/3 of the people that shop there on BF won't shop with there again until the next BF. Worst customer to have - extreme price shopper, no loyalty, no add-ons, unprofitable cherry pickers, who return at twice the normal rate. You know, most farkers.
 
2013-11-30 08:38:47 PM  

TyrantII: The brainwash masses are NOT saving a few bucks.  If they were, retailers wouldn't be pushing it.


I saved about $50* by purchasing my TV at Fred Meyer ( Kroger ) at 5:30 AM on Black Friday; also picked up a bunch of wool-blend socks at half-price.

/ The sock sale is a Pacific Northwest/Fred Meyer annual thing...
// *compared to Amazon.com
 
2013-11-30 11:18:09 PM  

TyrantII: The brainwash masses are NOT saving a few bucks.  If they were, retailers wouldn't be pushing it.


Market share, how the fark does that work?
 
2013-11-30 11:22:33 PM  

The Pope of Manwich Village: There are some specialty retailers where 2/3 of the people that shop there on BF won't shop with there again until the next BF. Worst customer to have - extreme price shopper, no loyalty, no add-ons, unprofitable cherry pickers, who return at twice the normal rate. You know, most farkers.


Most of those seasonal places intentionally sign leases that expire at the end of business on December 24th.

I've worked my share of retail and the same shysters show up almost every year. It's always amusing to hear the outrage that the kiosk that sold you the offbrand RC helicopter on cash-only terms disappeared before you could return the item after it broke on the first day.
 
2013-11-30 11:37:58 PM  

tjsands1118: What I don't get is everytime a lunatic goes on a rampage with a gun, it's nothing but gun control talk the next two to three weeks. Yet every year people are injure or killed during Black Friday by hundreds of idiots, yet there is no talk about stopping it.

I think federal holidays should be a mandated day off for non emergency personnel, anyone who must work should receive double overtime (or adjusted salary with equals double overtime for said period of time).  I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.

And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.

/but then again I want to live in a logical world, so I'm just dreaming.


So much THIS
 
2013-11-30 11:53:10 PM  
I was there at 6pm and again at 8, 10 and 12. I got my deals. Maybe you people need to get off your high horses, stop being so judgmental, and join the rest of society.
 
2013-12-01 12:42:06 AM  

tjsands1118: And to get rid of Black Friday all I believe we need to do is adjust the fire code to make it illegal for people to pile up out front of stores. As most of the injuries/deaths seem to happen when they open the doors. It would be as simple as saying it's against the fire code to stand in front of a closed business, anyone found guilty gets a two hundred dollar fine, and I don't think most people would be willing to pay $200 to save $50.


I like it.  Except in the case of many Walmarts the store is already open.  They just have stations inside the store where the big door buster items are stashed.  You've got to line up at that spot to get a chance for the item.  Then again, Fire Code could be used there.  If you've got more people in a specific spot than can safely evacuate it in case of a fire.  Move the people out.
 
2013-12-01 12:57:47 AM  

Forbidden Doughnut: TyrantII: The brainwash masses are NOT saving a few bucks.  If they were, retailers wouldn't be pushing it.

I saved about $50* by purchasing my TV at Fred Meyer ( Kroger ) at 5:30 AM on Black Friday; also picked up a bunch of wool-blend socks at half-price.

/ The sock sale is a Pacific Northwest/Fred Meyer annual thing...
// *compared to Amazon.com


Exact same model, or one with the same nameplate, one less HDMI input, and the capacitors that go bad in three years instead of twelve?

I need fresh socks, but it's miss and miss getting them in size 14 on sale.
 
2013-12-01 01:10:59 AM  
To rush around in the herd all day or hang back, work the regular day at double-time pay but with almost nothing going and then buy the same stuff the herd was fighting over from the comfort of your lair with the money you'd earned and a relaxed time frame to evaluate the offered deals vs what the items are really worth.

Decisions decisions...
 
2013-12-01 02:31:58 AM  

tjsands1118: I also believe the government should pay every single adult citizen a sum equal to eight hours of minimal wage for said holiday.


Since most adults work, you'll just have to tax them the same amount you give them in order to pay for it. Then there is the administrative cost of collecting and distributing the money, which is also picked up by the taxpayer, so it ends up a net loss.

OTOH, you could sell the idea to Paul Krugman to use in his column... he could add it to his list of great stimulus plans.
 
2013-12-01 03:31:06 AM  
Black Friday is bad and you should feel bad.
 
2013-12-01 06:46:15 AM  

gozar_the_destroyer: The reason for these end of year sales is to reduce inventory of items that move slowly or not at all. It cleans out the warehouses and reduces what you have to claim as assets for taxes.

Also, why in the fark did the article have a graph with super varied data points that they put an average line through? The data obviously showed no pattern.


many retailers make the bulk of their yearly sales in the last 5-6 weeks of the year. holiday shopping, go figure. excess inventory on shelves is more a problem for service/install/repair businesses stocking a wide range of product that has to be bought in quantity yet sells slowly. the 'just in time' ordering cycle that was a trendy push years ago doesn't work well for manufactured goods shipped around the world. they require lead time and there's always something that can go wrong.
 
2013-12-01 07:38:48 AM  
when jcpenny has a black friday SMOKE ad...where they SMOKE sing...and the line is 'go go go go go...buy buy buy buy' people SMOKE get pretty stupid.

/you smokin yet?
 
2013-12-01 10:18:43 AM  
Marketing researcher here.

First of all, I agree that Black Friday is mostly hype and that it's a poor indicator of holiday sales.

But I disagree on grounds that these economist-style arguments are attempting to isolate a variable as a predictor when there are several other strongly influential variables in play.

When you're constructing a regression model (as I'll assume they did here, because otherwise, that trend line makes no sense), you have to take all of the contributing variables into effect when you're trying to predict their impact on a dependent variable (in this case, overall holiday sales). In addition to Black Friday Sales versus Holiday Season sales, those would include:

1) Length of the holiday shopping season (which can vary by a several days year to year due to the placement of Thanksgiving)
2) Consumer confidence due to relative strength of the economy
3) Availability of credit
4) Importance of Black Friday (which really didn't rise to the level of hype it currently enjoys until around 10-15 years ago)
5) Consumer usage of online retail versus traditional retail
6) Gift cards as a percentage of total holiday sales

Unfortunately, two of those variables (#2 and #3) have been thrown off by the extremely high bubble economy (with large amounts of credit) of 2005-2007 and the extremely low consumer confidence after the bubble burst (with lower amounts of credit) of 2008-2010. So right away, there's going to be a problem modeling holiday sales on the basis of these variables.

Then you've got the length of the shopping season, which has hit a sudden dip in 2013... meaning that any predictive relationship that you could establish from the last 20-30 years using this variable alone won't necessarily reflect 2013 because this is an abnormally short holiday season.

The "Importance of Black Friday" could be measured in surrogate by ad spends (since Black Friday advertising would rise as the holiday became more important to consumers), but finding a reliable source for that data would be tricky since media buys (tv, radio, online) are often tracked separately from newspaper circulars and direct mail, and you'd need to be able to account for all of them.

Gift card sales are also important to consider, because these have risen as an important factor over the last 20 years. Retailers didn't used to sell many gift certificates because they were difficult to use, but electronic gift cards have both been a boon to retailers and a curse to anyone trying to track retail sales, because most gift cards are sold  during the holiday season but not counted as sales until after they're redeemed (which is usually post-holiday).

Online retail has had a dramatic effect as well, increasing the number of available deals and sell-through on some types of merchandise while potentially decreasing the average spend per customer since online retailers are often passing on significant cost savings.

TL;DR In summary, there are lots of other variables that need to be considered here for any sort of modeling, and the idea that "Black Friday sales can predict overall holiday sales" shows poor logic given that Black Friday sales are very likely  also a dependent variable influenced by these other economic forces.
 
DVD
2013-12-01 11:13:43 AM  
So what if one of the stores has a "Black Wednesday" sale the day BEFORE Thanksgiving.  Then closes on Thanksgiving.  I'm sure we can complain about that one, and besides, Chinese tech workers are going to get terrible working conditions no matter which day the sale is.
 
2013-12-01 02:07:41 PM  

Forbidden Doughnut: TyrantII: The brainwash masses are NOT saving a few bucks.  If they were, retailers wouldn't be pushing it.

I saved about $50* by purchasing my TV at Fred Meyer ( Kroger ) at 5:30 AM on Black Friday; also picked up a bunch of wool-blend socks at half-price.

/ The sock sale is a Pacific Northwest/Fred Meyer annual thing...
// *compared to Amazon.com


If you like wool socks, REI will practically be giving away Smartwool socks after Christmas. ( Maybe a few other places, too, like The Walking Company and Clarks, and Amazon.com.) Smartwool socks are the best.
 
2013-12-01 04:36:07 PM  

You're not saving money and the stores aren't losing money. The cost of the items has been increased to offset the 'sale'. It's always been a thing but it got formalized about 5 years ago. Now everyone does it as a matter of business. Stores are still making their 28-30% margin for the year.

It's so ingrained now, when JC Penny tried to get away from inflated prices and just regular best price, they bombed. People won't buy anything unless it's 40% off so retailers jacked up the prices 40%. If you buy during the year, yeah you're going to pay even more than you should have. You now have to wait for these super sales to get the price you should be getting year round.

 
2013-12-01 04:43:02 PM  
There is a strong economic case against Black Friday, but no one will ever follow it because the brainwashed masses all want to save a few buckscan't afford not to trample into walmart to pay half what they would normally pay.


seeing as how they live in the 'greatest economy on earth' where jobs abound and all those tax cuts for the rich have finally paid off.  and all those jobs sent overseas have really made a difference.  overseas to other democracies like communist china.
 
2013-12-01 05:02:52 PM  

BizarreMan: I would posit that consumers have a set amount they are going to spend on holiday gifts.  It just comes down to how many weeks they spread it over.   As a consumer deeper discounts at some point in the shopping season may help me out because I can buy more items for my budget.  But that doesn't help the store any.


As far as our family, I set a Christmas budget every year, and if we can stretch the dollars farther by shopping on BF so be it. We also delay some regular purchases we would have made in Oct/Nov to BF. BF rarely makes us spend more, but the deals can influence WHERE we spend those dollars.
 
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