Black Friday has become a common term used to describe the largest single retail shopping day in the nation—the day after Thanksgiving. Many people want to take advantage of huge sales and discounts to get their Christmas shopping in order. Shopping closer to December 25 means more crowds and less merchandise to choose from. Often, the really “hot” items are long gone for the shopper who appears on December 20th to do Christmas purchasing. Getting a jump on the holiday shopping makes sense to many, so much so that they are willing to spend the entire day after Thanksgiving visiting stores, some of which open as early as midnight for sales.
Why just have one Black Friday?
The success of Black Friday prompted retailers to take a closer look at their marketing strategies. Turning a profit is, of course, the purpose of having a retail store; profits were formerly marked in black ink as opposed to red in the store’s books, so the name of this day is significant. Black Friday is traditionally the day retailers are “in the black” for the year, but November seemed a bit late to some store owners to become profitable. Why not have sales at an earlier point in the year, and capitalize on the success of the original Black Friday? To many store owners, this made sense.
Why Black Friday in July?
Retailers traditionally see a sag in sales around the summer months. Many people are traveling, relaxing, and not spending as much as they do during the winter months. In order to boost the mid-year sales, retailers thought July would be a good time to have large sales.
What about a theme? Many communities and areas have long held “Christmas in July” parties or events to bring people together over the summer months. For example, many beach communities, where residents own summer homes, sponsor “Christmas in July” parties, boat parades, and other exciting draws to bring the “summer people” together. In many locations, people even decorate their houses for “Christmas,” utilizing tinsel and holly.
Observing this trend, retailers began to market “Black Friday in July” as a time for stores to have sales which would attract summer shopping crowds. July is also close to the midpoint of the year, so the month is a sensible one to hold sales which will not burden the stores too heavily by coming too close to the original Black Friday.
Are Black Friday Sales in July as good as Black Friday?
Sale bargains are generally better in July than in November. This is because the true marketing push for Christmas has not yet come, and the one toy that the kids “must have” or the one item Mom or Dad “really want” may not have yet appeared. Because of this, many Christmas type items are not susceptible to the Black Friday in July phenomenon. For example, many people give pets as gifts at Christmas, so pet-related supply sales spike around November and December. These retailers would probably not see much additional profit in the middle of the summer, however, so they usually hold “regular” sales and do not target these customers.
However, many items such as books, tools, and clothing are hot sale items for Christmas in July. These items keep well in storage, and many people choose to purchase some Christmas gifts early to really beat the crowds. People also may have more time to shop during the summer, when vacations are traditionally taken. Further, many people hit the Black Friday in July sales for gifts for occasions other than Christmas, such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and work-related gifts.
There are some drawbacks to Black Friday in July. If you purchase items for Christmas at this time, you are almost sure to have storage issues, especially if you have children. Finding a place for all those items you do not want the kids to see can be bothersome. Further, by the time Christmas rolls around, many people have forgotten how much they bought in July, and consequently spend more than they budgeted for Christmas with a second round of shopping in November or December.
Online retailers have also caught on to the Black Friday in July trend, and offer many online discounts and savings for shopping at this time. You can receive information about Black Friday sales, both online and at retail locations, by signing up for email reminders and notifications, or by scanning the local papers for sale ads. Black Friday in July sales are more common among larger retailers and in larger markets than they are for local merchants and smaller stores.