Is Technology Changing the Way We Shop On Black Friday?

Back to Blog  •  Posted on November 4, 2014 by admin


Steadily advancing technology is changing consumer behaviors on Black Friday. This is becoming more evident, especially since Cyber Monday online sales now officially follow the traditional day after Thanksgiving shopping day. It takes Black Friday to get the revenue of some retailers back in the profitable black rather than remaining in the unprofitable red. Regardless of brick and mortar retail store balance sheets, Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season still reign supreme as king of the revenue generators. However, advancing technology is bringing about changes each year.

Technology Is Changing Black Friday BuyingTechnology is causing a twofold difference that is changing shopping habits on this big retail day. First, technology itself is getting consumers out of bed early and to the stores. Electronic items are the number one gift that both children and adults want for Christmas. Smartphones, big screen televisions, computers, tablets and game consoles are big-ticket retail items. So-called “doorbusters,” especially if they are electronic items, get consumers to stand in long lines for hours even before the sun has come up on Black Friday morning. Retail stores that have electronics departments draw major crowds of customers if they have great Black Friday deals.

Secondly, technology is changing the shopping experience itself. More consumers each year are shopping online rather than going out to stores. Online stores now compete with brick and mortar retailers offering great deals before Black Friday arrives. They also offer Cyber Monday deals to catch consumers who missed out or did not find a great deal on Friday. Easy-to-navigate websites that look as good on smartphones as they do on desktop computers attract tech-savvy consumers to the deals. When prices are the same or lower online, even with included shipping charges, many consumers opt to place orders by clicking a mouse or tapping a screen rather than standing in long lines in the middle of the night.

Changes to Traditional Black Friday Infrastructure

Black Friday worked best when most shoppers had Thanksgiving weekend off. Now more people have to get up and go to work Friday morning with a significant amount missing out on the doorbuster items and deep discounts. Newspaper publishers are also part of the old infrastructure of Black Friday. They need to publish a Thanksgiving Thursday issue stuffed with printed ads of local retailers. Newspapers are dwindling in circulation and subscriptions. Most stores are now sending out emails with links to see ads online, including opportunities to order directly at store websites. This guarantees consumers will get the products in plenty of time before Christmas. Also, some retail establishments are closing brick and mortar stores to save costs while hoping to generate more online ordering.

The great thing about the changes technology brings to Black Friday is the increase in being able to take advantage of the great deals for consumers who like to sleep in or who have to work. Electronic technology sales are the big consumer draw, and the technology itself is changing how shopping is being done for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire Christmas shopping season.