Are Millennials, online shopping taking a bite out of Black Friday?

Posted On November 29, 2017

Is Black Friday fading? It depends on who you ask.

Anecdotal evidence around the country seemed to indicate that the traditional Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping spree wasn’t as big a free-for-all as in past years, but Forbes cited numbers from the National Retail Federation and Prospect Insights & Analytics that showed turnout to be higher than expected.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that online spending on Black Friday was a record $5.03 billion, according to Adobe Systems Inc. — up nearly 17 percent over last year. We didn’t even wait for Cyber Monday.

The ease of online shopping has taken a bite out of retail’s biggest day, but how big a bite seems to vary from year to year, often driven by factors such as the strength of the economy and even the weather.

There are still plenty of shoppers who prefer to see and touch what they’re buying before they head to the check-out. Most of them, however, are not millennials.

In fact, noted a study conducted by social media research company The Tylt found that 70 percent of the 4,300 millennials it surveyed would prefer to do away with Black Friday altogether.

It’s exhausting, for one thing. Who wants to stand in line for three hours to save $50 on a TV? And the crowds can turn ugly. We’ve all heard stories and perhaps even seen video of grown men and women fighting over Elmo dolls or video games or whatever the hot item of the year might be.

There’s even a website dedicated to cataloguing Black Friday violence around the world: (Ten as of this writing, according to the site, if you were wondering.)

It’s also a bit unseemly, some say, to have such crass consumerism so immediately after a holiday that has been set aside for us to remember to give thanks for that which we already have. Is it any less crass to drop a couple hundred bucks online than in the mall? Not really, but you can do it without witnesses.

It’s just easier to browse online without getting out of your chair, to check out with a click of the mouse instead of standing in line. Millennials have grown up with a mall at their fingertips and many don’t see the need to leave the house to go to a real one.

But storefronts aren’t going the way of the Dodo yet. notes that many companies, online and brick-and-mortar alike, are seeking a blended approach. bought Whole Foods. Walmart bought online retailers Bonobos and ModCloth. Some online companies have partnered with brick-and-mortar retailers to give their digital shoppers the option of seeing and touching before they buy.

As long as there’s demand, there will be someone to fill it. We may be inching closer to the point where sleeping bags and tents are reserved for camping in the woods instead of the sidewalk in front of Best Buy, but we’re not quite there yet.

Categories: Advertising, Generation Y / Millennials, Wealth