Retailers will rake in millions of dollars today as the Christmas shopping season officially begins. However, Black Friday is not what it used to be.
“Black Friday has really lost its luster in a sense," said Audrey Guskey, a marketing professor at Duquesne University. "Cyber Monday is the shining star for Christmas this year.”
Black Friday got its name because it was the day retailers saw their balance sheets move into the black for the year. While that might still be true, shoppers have increasingly become comfortable shopping online — and retailers have noticed.
“The prices are better,” Guskey said of Cyber Monday deals. “There’s a lot of free shipping and it just seems people have gravitated towards that.”
Mobile shopping is helping to fuel that trend. The National Retail Federation is predicting a double-digit percent increase in online shopping this holiday season, with an increase in mobile shopping of more than 20 percent.
In reality, neither Black Friday nor Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping days of the year. That honor traditionally goes to the Saturday before Christmas. But since Christmas Eve falls on that Saturday this year, Guskey is predicting that biggest shopping day of 2016 will be Dec. 23— or, as Guskey is calling it, "Fantastic Friday."
The National Retail Federation is predicting a 3.5 percent increase in overall holiday shopping this year. Guskey said that might be a bit optimistic. She is calling for 3 percent growth. The ten-year average stands at 2.5 percent.