By Lizz Panchyk
With Black Friday fast approaching, deals and steals are bombarding our computer screens and lighting up our phones. Most associate Black Friday with having to quickly enter a store, scoop up as much as we can, accidentally spend more than we had planned and escape the store without getting trampled. More recently, however, many retailers have resorted to utilizing a more online format of shopping with deals starting way before Black Friday, following through the weekend to Cyber Monday. Although it brings some convenience it does also lead to costly shipping prices and even heightened expenses. Some orders even become delayed due to the overwhelming demand and retailers not being able to keep up. It is for reasons such as these that the Black Friday shopping period is now becoming extended.
During 2020, many resorted to online shopping which, with the influx of orders, caused shipping delays, supply chain shortages and busy schedules for delivery workers. Because of this, retailers have introduced their sales earlier than in prior years. You will be able to do your early Black Friday shopping, your late Black Friday shopping and everything in between.
“At a broad level, an increasingly large percent of sales are shifting from in-person to online sales,” said Zachary Johnson, an associate professor of marketing in the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business. “Marketing online has certain advantages for retailers, which can include the ability to adjust promotions in real-time based on the response from consumers.”
Is online shopping a good thing? Ultimately, it calls for a safer shopping experience, and who wouldn’t want to shop in the comfort of their own house? Ordering online can be beneficial, but sometimes waiting for that shipping notification is a real pain. Hopefully, however, now that our shopping deals are becoming more spread out, these issues from the past couple years will begin to subside, or so we can only hope.
Sophomore Madison Castelli said, “I’m planning on shopping online mainly because the crowds are overwhelming and I feel that online you can really find what you want a lot quicker.”
Inflation may be contributing to the decision as well this holiday season. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased to a whopping 9.1 percent. Everywhere we turn we notice the cost of items increasing from diners to grocery stores, and maybe more importantly, our gas. This is why we often wait for sales, money off coupons or free shipping codes so we don’t have to pay full price for items that are now more than they once were.
Luckily, the internet allows us to find coupons or codes to use which, in the end, help us save some money. But for stores’ own websites, we can expect to see many great sales throughout the month of November - with some that even began in late October.
However, don’t let sales fool you or influence you. According to finder.com, Americans are expected to spend roughly $51 billion this year just from shopping sales.
“In the past few years, many companies have reduced the overall discounts they've given,” Johnson said. “I would suggest that students seek out deals on things that they need rather than just focusing on deals. A product that is discounted by 80 percent is only a good deal if it's something that you actually want.”
In general, it is never a bad idea to have your Christmas shopping done slightly early. So while the deals are there, take your chances and start shopping while prices are temporarily lowered. Enjoy this newly “spread out” Black Friday and use it to your advantage.
If you want to preview which stores have started their Black Friday sales, check out this website: https://blackfriday.com/. But if you decide to shop in person, be aware of your surroundings, be practical and be safe. Happy shopping!