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Black Friday/CyberMonday Reflections

by Jeff Roster  |  November 30, 2009  |  1 Comment

In all the noise surrounding these to events the one that caused me to stop in my tracks and think for a minute was the below tweet from Nicole Maestri of Reuters:

With all these Thanksgiving day and pre-Thanksgiving sales, I wonder how much longer Black Friday will actually mean anything?

She asks a very provocative question? Absolutely is my answer. Here’s why:

Consumers embrace it– Despite all the machinations to the contrary consumers respond to Black Friday.  My visits to various malls at 0 dark 30 Friday saw lines forming outside doors.  News feeds from around the country illustrate that was not just a Silicon Valley phenomena

Reminder- Serves as an anchor in the calendar –There is no question that retailers have made concerted efforts to draw the Black Friday frenzy into early November.  Perhaps the two best examples are Sears with their “Black Friday Now”  ad campaign that kicked off Halloween weekend and BestBuy posting all their circulars through Christmas on their website thereby giving people confidence in when the best deals are to be had.  But the key here is the pivotpoint is still Black Friday.  That serves as the launching point.  It’s a dramatic reminder for consumes to get about the important business of holiday shopping.  That is  =not going to change for the foreseeable future.

Publicity, publicity, publicity– You’d be hard pressed for find a news outlet that didn’t have a reporters covering Black Friday activities.  There is clearly huge interest in the idea.  I monitored various news feeds where retail shopping stories dominated the day. Local radio stations provided traffic updates and I would venture to say every single news station had a reporter doing a standup at a mall with harried shoppers in the background.  Retailers will always capitalize on the free exposure.

Not your fathers Black Friday –I’m comfortable that Black Friday and probably Cyber Monday are here to stay for the foreseeable future.  But what is changing dramatically is how retailers utilize the day.  I believe this year saw the emergence of retailers use of social media to drive marketing strategies.  Many of the examples were interesting, innovative and fresh.  But next year social media will not sneak up on anybody, including the consumers.  Next years campaigns will try and draw the consumer into a tighter dynamic with the retailer.  Black Friday will serve to focus these efforts. 

See ya next year at 4:30am!

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Category: mobile-commerce  retail-industry-events  retail-observations  retail-spending  

Tags: black-friday  retail-events  social-media  twitter  

Jeffrey Roster
Research VP
12 years at Gartner
15 years IT industry

Jeffrey Roster is a research vice president at Gartner as part of the Industry Market Strategies Worldwide unit covering the retail and wholesale industries. In this capacity, Mr. Roster consults on market strategies, competitive assessment of the IT services landscape, technology trends and the direction of IT spending to provide market research for IT vendors. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Black Friday/CyberMonday Reflections


  1. David Dorf says:

    I believe I woke up around 8:30am on Black Friday. Sometimes its good not to be a retailer (or a retail analyst). I agree that the concept of “Black Friday” will be around for a long time, but its morphing into more than just a single day. It reminds of the Superbowl… a three hour event now spans days of pre-game and post-game hoopla, and that’s ok because its what people want. There will be plenty of pre- and post- Black Friday sales, but the main event will still garner the most attention.



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