By Elyse Desmarais on November 5, 2015
We’re already aware Thanksgiving and Black Friday have become one in the same. With many retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving day, employees and consumers are being drawn away from dinner tables and into stores. While longer sale hours may be welcomed by many consumers, disgruntled employees and negative press in previous years have made some retailers reconsider the morality behind this practice.
This year, REI announced it will be staying closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, urging employees and shoppers to get outdoors rather than into their stores. The retailer is even going a step further to show a black takeover screen on their website on Black Friday urging visitors to #OptOutside. Other well-known stores resisting peer pressure by vowing to stay closed this Thanksgiving include,
Crate and Barrel
Barnes and Noble
Bed Bath and Beyond
Jo Ann Fabrics
While these retailers won’t pull employees and customers away from Thanksgiving dinners and family time, they will be open on Black Friday.
Retailers began early Black Friday openings on the Thanksgiving holiday approximately 5 years ago. Since then, retail sales on Thanksgiving day (excluding food, gasoline and automobiles) have been up $52 million from 2009, with last year’s sales totaling $3.2 billion on the holiday.
Some of the biggest names on this year’s list of Thanksgiving day openers are:
Toys R Us
Interestingly enough, these retailers may not be bringing in more money than their counterparts who’ve decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving. While there has been more spending on Thanksgiving itself, Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak, explains that despite “incremental traffic and sales, it’s simply divided among a larger number of hours.” In other words, retailers extended hours are not generating more sales from consumers, sales are just spread over a larger period of time.
Despite REI’s efforts to take the greed out of Black Friday, a recent survey by American Express finds a large amount of American consumers won’t be spending Black Friday outdoors or with family. According to the study,
45% of consumers plan to make a purchase on Black Friday, and
47% of consumers plan to make a purchase on Cyber Monday
So for now, it seems REI’s efforts will have a very slow affect in changing consumers’ morals and spending habits. The majority of American consumers will continue to succumb to persuasive retailer advertisements and promotions. The good news for retailers who refuse to open on Thanksgiving day is their sales probably won’t take a hit as Black Friday will mostly likely make up for the Thanksgiving day loss. REI, however, will have to comfort themselves knowing they’ve taken a moral stand and missing out on Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales could, potentially, land them new customers and strengthen their relationships with current customers who share their point of view.
Looking for a more efficient and effective way to connect with customers and survey respondents? Instant Census is here to help!