Say goodbye to Black Friday
It’s going to be a blue Christmas in cybertown
The last five years have seen a steady decline in those annual super sales like Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Even extending them to a full week or the entire month of November hasn’t resuscitated consumers’ flagging interest in so-called mega deals of the year.
Online and offline retailers alike are perplexed. After decades of stellar growth, year-on-year, sales volumes suddenly peaked in 2021, then slumped. At first they blamed it on Covid, but even after the pandemic dissipated, there was no revival of retail fortunes. Something had changed.
When marathon sales blowouts like Singles Day were a novelty, complete with live-streamed performances and celebrities, the deep discounts were real, and consumers were easy to convert from prospects to customers. Many were looking for the opportunity to get something they were hankering after at an affordable price. Some even delayed their purchase decisions until sales day, for exactly that reason.
Then cynical retailers started offering pre-Black Friday specials, muddying the waters and loading prices beforehand, just so they could offer bigger discounts on the day. Savvy consumers soon twigged to the fact that the specials weren’t really that special, and on big ticket items they could often negotiate an even better deal on non-sales days. Tracking airline flights for the best day of the week to get the lowest fare is one example of how consumers turned online tech to their own advantage.
But the biggest reason Singles Day has stopped growing, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are non-events, is that people are no longer interested in retail promos, online or off. Direct sales from brand to customer have taken over, and consumers are spending less anyway. So why wait for a special sale, when you already have almost everything you need, and if there’s something that needs replacing, you can get a customized product anytime?
As people swing away from buying gifts to spending time with other people, and spending money on experiences, it’s going to be a blue, blue Christmas in cybertown!
Links to related stories
- Online spending on Black Friday decreased for the very first time – The Verge, 28 November 2021
- Alibaba's Singles Day sales grow just 8.5%, slowest pace ever – Reuters, 12 November 2021
- Cyber Monday online sales drop 1.4%, falling for the first time – CNBC, 30 November 2021
- Mindbullet: It pays to be direct (Dateline: 9 January 2025)
- Mindbullet: Where has all the money gone? (Dateline: 30 November 2030)
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