BY VICTORIA PIGNATELLI
With Thanksgiving and the December holidays looming in the near future, the retail sector of the business world has already begun to anticipate sales for this coming winter shopping season. Year after year, most large-scale retailers choose to advertise their holiday deals and Black Friday sales as early as possible.
Black Friday is an annual retail phenomenon which stemmed from a Philadelphian occurrence where the traffic around the city was abnormally busy the day after Thanksgiving. It is only within the last 30 years that the term came into popular use, when researchers deemed that the term came from financial loss during this time of the year.
This year proves to be no exception to the trend, with the largest retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy and Toys R Us announcing their annual holiday sales and deals to reel their customers in.
However this year, many business analysts are suggesting that this year, in particular will prove to be a far more profitable year than those past. Now, that is not saying that profits in the traditional brick and mortar stores will be voluminous or skyrocket any projected profit, but rather digital and eCommerce will. These definitely not new sectors of the retail market, as they have been around for a number of years, in public favor.
But, this year, according to a press release from the National Retail Federation, nearly half of all holiday shopping will be done entirely online. Whether that is coming from the purchase and pick up option that many retailers provide, or taking advantage of free shipping promotions from other retail establishments, the digital wave of holiday shopping is here.
From the National Retail Federation, a figure of 73.1 percent of online shoppers are seeking deals and sales that have the potential to be better than those found in traditional brick and mortar stores.
“I’ve worked on Black Friday for a couple years, and while it’s crazy, there aren’t nearly as many people as there used to be,” said Baylee Friedersohn, a cashier at one of these larger establishments. “I mean, I even go online to get better deals.”
Friedersohn’s observations are not alone, as figures of brick and mortar retail shoppers are dropping. Milennials are a large factor of this change in shopping, as they seem to prefer using apps and mobile devices to purchase.
“I love shopping online,” said Richard Emery, a nursing student at the County College of Morris. “Amazon offers their free shipping to students, and I take full advantage of that. I haven’t done serious holiday shopping online before, but this year that might change.”
For Black Friday shoppers, this may mean an altered sales plan. The deals will probably be better online for a relatively new phenomenon, Cyber Monday. In any case, sales patterns, and shopping trends are changing.
“I like my job, but I hope the shoppers stick to online shopping,” said Gina Morreo, a retail associate and CCM business student. “Black Friday is ugly. I would never wish it on anyone. I’m even going shopping online just to stay away from malls during the holiday season.”
Morreo’s comments resonate with the thousands of retail associates throughout the nation, and hopefully some shoppers. However, there are concerns with online shopping, like cyber security and identity theft. Only within the last month did most major retailers add in new pin pad machines to accommodate new security regulations. Online shopping does not provide its customers with that new security, and potentially holds the risks for identity theft.
If the National Retail Federation believes that there will be high sales this holiday season, then there must be a precedent based on trend. With cyber security risks aside, and online shopping on the rise, only sales figures will tell what the figures will be come January.