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November 13, 2019
Maria Pesin

It’s that time of year again; the holidays are just around the corner. November leads us into the biggest selling season of the year. Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chanukah are holidays with a big focus on gift giving. This drives a lot of sales for retailers. The stores spend all year planning their promotions to get the best results for their business. Many stores are opening at 5pm Thanksgiving Day to indulge in the consumer demand for deals. Everyone wants to get a deal and feel like they are getting the most for their money.
The season traditionally kicks off with Thanksgiving. However, stores are pushing it earlier and earlier each year. Some stores like Macy’s and J-Crew are even offering Pre-Black Friday deals. Whether you are the retailer or the consumer, there are three key dates to plan for:
Black Friday
Black Friday is the oldest consumer holiday to date, but it didn’t start out as you might of thought. The term Black Friday first started off from a financial crisis in 1869. There was a crash in the Gold Market, which was around the same time of manifest destiny and imperialism.
To try to mend the situation, two Wall Street bankers Jay Gould and Jim Fisk purchased as much gold as they could but ultimately sent the economy into a downward spiral once their plan unfolded. This all happened on a Friday, hence the name “Black Friday” was born. In the 1950s and 1960s, Black Friday was mainly in Philadelphia and had a negative connotation due to the flooding tourists. The 1980s is when Black Friday spread countrywide and became the large-scale retail event it is known as today.
Consumers line up and wait for stores to open to get the deals they see advertised, and retailers make a demand for them saying things such as “only this many available, or while supplies last.” This is considered the first day that consumers start their holiday shopping.  Consumers look forward to this day all year and retailers plan months in advance for it. “Black Friday 2018 (Thanksgiving Day plus Black Friday) raked in $9.9 billion in online sales. That’s $6.2 billion spent on Black Friday and $3.7 billion spent on Thanksgiving. That’s a 19.7% increase over 2017.” Black Friday always falls on the day after Thanksgiving. This year’s date is November 29, 2019. Stores open early and stay open really late.
Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday is a relatively new retail event first starting in 2005. Even though computers were first being worked on in the 1960s, they were too large to fit in the household. IBM invented the household computer we know today in 1975 and other companies like Apple soon followed in the 1980s.
In the 80s, people were skeptical just like with any other technology and online shopping didn’t first come to be until the 1990s. The Internet has evolved since then. I know some people can’t remember a time before computers and smartphones, but in hindsight it really wasn’t that long ago. As computers became more prevalent, the rates of online shopping have steadily increased. It is very easy to shop from the comfort of your own home and not wait in those long lines and craziness of Black Friday.
Cyber Monday has since evolved into the biggest online shopping day in the country for consumers. In 2018, Cyber Monday generated $7.9 billion in sales. This runs the Monday directly following Thanksgiving, and is promoted by online retailers as a day for exceptional bargains. “These deals are only good on Cyber Monday so you have to act fast,” is an example of a promotion run that day. This year Cyber Monday is on December 2, 2019.
Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is newest event of the three Christmas season promotions. First founded by American Express in 2010, their mission is to support small businesses across the country. Supporting businesses in your community helps the economy.
In 2011, President Obama, Washington State Mayors, and other government officials supported Small Business Saturday and voted to make the day official. Since then, the event has seen a steady growth.
90 percent of consumers surveyed said Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community. “According to the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, produced by American Express and NFIB, 104 million shoppers spent a record high of $17.8 billion in 2018.” This year Small Business Saturday is on November 30, 2019.
Overall, I think Black Friday is a substantial business opportunity. People live for deals. With psychological price points, even if something was $9.99 instead of $10.00, people always think they are getting a deal. However, what I am not too fond of is that retailers keep opening their stores earlier and earlier, making people work on thanksgiving to get a jump on business.  I don’t think this is the fairest approach to the employees.  Business is business, but Thanksgiving is also a holiday of togetherness and family. Just like with anything there are upsides and downsides to Black Friday but I think it is a good way for retailers to increase sales.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday have become holiday staples through the years. Put these dates on your calendars and plan your promotions around these dates to create desire for your product and sales. Take advantage of this uptick in consumer shopping, and create ads that will drive customers to your site. What started out as a financial crisis in the 1800s has now become a 4-day shopping extravaganza. Consumers have their credit cards ready to go and participating businesses will profit.

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Maria Pesin

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