Just a few years ago, the words “Black Friday” would conjure images of frenzied shoppers packed into stores like sardines and hunting for the best bargains. But the traditional start to holiday shopping season now looks starkly different.
Black Friday, which falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, has been known as the unofficial beginning of the holiday shopping season since the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, according to BlackFriday.com. In 2022, the unofficial US holiday falls on Nov. 25.
Consumers’ increasing preference for online shipping, amplified in 2020 at the onset of COVID-19, has made waking up at 3 am to wait in two hour lines far less common.
Images of Black Friday’s bygone era show mayhem in crammed stores, parking lot fights and tents lined up with crowds of people. Do you miss it?
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Nowadays, many major retailers like Walmart and Target are offering discounts throughout November, and most closed on Black Friday in 2020 for the first time in a decade.
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A national survey about holiday shopping of more than 1,000 consumers published this year highlights the decline of the Black Friday “experience.” It found that just 32% of people said they will shop in-person on Black Friday – a decrease from 35% in 2021 – while more than 80% of consumers said they will shop during Cyber Week 2022. Most major retailers adopted Cyber Monday Week by 2016 to offer a variety of deals over several days, according to Investopedia.
The majority of people, 64%, will shop on Cyber Monday – an increase from 45% who said they’d shop on Cyber Monday in 2021.
Spending for the mostly-online event is expected to fall amid record-high inflation, but physical retailers could see a boost, according to the survey. Even so, nearly half of consumers said shopping malls will be important for their 2022 holiday shopping needs.
Of the retail locations respondents reported they’ll visit in-person on Black Friday, 62% said Walmart, 58% said Target and 34% said shopping malls.
Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team.
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