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Consumers and the Washington Post agree – Black Friday “is not what it used to be”.
On November 25, the date of this year’s Black Friday, the Washington Post ran an article reporting that store crowds were “thinner” and personal deals “less generous” than ever.
Returning to campus after the Thanksgiving break, several students who personally shopped on Black Friday expressed a similar sentiment.
“The shops at the mall weren’t anything special this year,” said Amber Hussain, a sophomore at Drake. “We decided to go to the Mall of America and you’d think at least that mall would be packed on Black Friday, but it was totally dead.”
Hussain said that although she lives in Decorah, Iowa, her family always travels to the Mall of America on Black Friday because they enjoy the “chaos” of the nation’s largest mall during a busy shopping vacation.
“I always love the busy crowds on Black Friday, but this year I felt like I was the only one bringing the energy,” she said. “No one was running or fighting or waiting in long lines. It was just an uneventful year.”
Another Drake sophomore, Aubrey Williams, was more put off by the lack of good deals.
“The impact that COVID had on Black Friday has diminished this year, so I actually thought the crowd was pretty decent,” Williams said. “But there was literally no good business.”
Williams said her family primarily shopped at Apache Mall in Rochester, Minnesota. She felt that overall this year’s deals seemed “lacking” compared to last year.
“Honestly, the best deal I got all day was lunch at the Texas Roadhouse,” she said.
Hussain also felt that the offers in personal deals left a lot to be desired.
“There were so many other random weekends with better deals than Black Friday,” Hussain said.
The Washington Post suggests that this shift is being caused by multiple factors on both the retail and consumer sides. Retailers are unable to offer massive deals due to “higher labor and supply chain costs eating into their margins” and consumer surveys have shown shoppers are “showing more reluctance” to spend on leisure as inflation hits a 40-year high lies.
Hussain said she believes so, even though it’s the Post Suggestions explain the lack of good deals this particular year. She believes the growing popularity of online shopping and “Cyber Monday” changed the mood of Black Friday forever.
“Being able to shop from the couch is more appealing to others than facing the busy Black Friday crowds,” Hussain said.
Hussain also said she believes crowds will only get thinner in the coming years and fewer people will bother to shop in person.
“Unfortunately, I believe this is the beginning of the end of Black Friday,” she said.
Williams shared a similar sentiment, admitting that she’d likely switch to online-only shopping herself in the years to come.
“Malls and stores just don’t have the same appeal that they used to,” Williams said.