UPDATED on 11/23 with new data from Tuesday's retail email campaigns.
References to Black Friday during Black Friday week are up 48% as of yesterday. If the trend continues, retail email volume will likely hit all-time highs on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Driven by store hours pushing into Thanksgiving and the increased adoption of smartphones and tablets that allow shopping from grandma’s house, Thanksgiving Day should see another big jump in retail email volume, after it increased 32% in 2010 compared to 2009.
The spike in Black Friday week messaging follows a just slight increase in references to “Black Friday” during the first three weeks of November—or “Black November” messaging—which were up just 4% this year compared to 2010.
I was surprised that Black November messaging didn’t rise more this year, as retailers generally jump at opportunities to spur shopping earlier in the holiday season. That said, there was a huge expansion last year, so it’s possible that retailers pushed consumers too hard in a single year to change their shopping habits.
On the plus side, Black November campaigns were much more coherent this year, with retailers branding their campaigns and running them every Friday in November. For example, Office Depot ran an “Every Friday Is Black Friday” campaign; OfficeMax a “It’s Black Friday Every Friday”; J&R a “Fade2Black” campaign; and Newegg a “Black November” campaign. Because of these campaigns, I expect consumers to be more aware of and more on the lookout for Black November campaigns next year.
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