People will always spend a lot of money on holiday gifts, but the methodology is changing fast. Here are five ways Black Friday has changed and won't be going back. In no particular order.

  WE ARE DONE WITH THANKSGIVING DAY SHOPPING

Prior to 2020,  there were a lot of retail stores who either opened or stayed open on Thanksgiving in order to attract consumers. This trend reached its peak 2-3 years ago. We started to see the pendulum swing back a little as people realized shopping was tarnishing the holiday. But post-COVID, family and other priorities took over. According to CNBC and other retail experts, the number of people who went to brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving was down 90.4 percent from 2019 levels.

More retailers every year are closing on the holiday to give workers time with families.

 IN-STORE BLACK FRIDAY TRAFFIC DOWN 28 PERCENT FROM 2019

It's not just due to the takeover by e-commerce (Cyber Monday). People are less likely to go out because of the increased value of spending time with family and friends and other priorities. Lockdowns and forced mandates from COVID resulted in people spending more time together and perhaps rediscovering the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

 

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   NO MORE GETTING UP AT 0-DARK-30 TO GET SPECIAL DEALS

You may have noticed the uber-cheap limited specials have nearly disappeared in retail stores. Remember a few years ago, especially in the last decade, when a store would roll out a pallet of 30-40 deeply discounted high-demand items and people would literally fight over them? Some people camping out overnight or getting there at 2-3 AM to get a place in line? That's pretty much gone.  This is mainly a result of online shopping but the Pandemic really sped it up. This image from 2016 shows shoppers in the dark at a toy store waiting for the deals.

 

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    THE PEAK SHOPPING TIME HAS SHIFTED--A LOT

Along with not getting up at 2 AM and standing in line, major retail trackers, including Adobe Analytics, say the peak shopping times on Black Friday are now between 1 and 3 PM. On my way home from the gym Friday morning around 7:30 AM, I noticed Columbia Center, Target, Best Buy and other major parking lots in Kennewick didn't look more crowded than a usual brisk holiday day.  But later that afternoon, good luck trying to get a parking spot anywhere close to them. Big increase.

  WE'RE SPREADING OUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING OUT A LOT MORE

And finally,  actual Black Friday online shopping dropped slightly, while actual Thanksgiving Day online shopping was flat like last year. Retail experts say it's more evidence that people are spreading their holiday purchases out over time, even as far ahead as October (they're just like my wife!)

You were not the only one who noticed Black Friday special ads being run on TV and radio barely after Halloween was over. We're still spending a lot, just doing it a lot earlier and spreading it out.

Retail experts say these changes were here to stay.

 

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