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12/17/2015

Marketing Professor Analyzes Latest Black Friday Trends

Quick Facts

 Marketing Professor Jane Thomas said retailers have expanded the boundaries of Black Friday shopping.
 She conducts her Black Friday research with Winthrop colleague Cara Peters, also of the College of Business Administration.

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Jane Thomas
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Winthrop University Marketing Professor Jane Thomas said the nation's busiest shopping day, Black Friday, no longer has the influence it once had.

What has changed?

"What we have seen happen over the past 12 years is that retailers have expanded the boundaries of Black Friday shopping," Thomas said. "There are Thanksgiving Day, Small Business Saturday and Green Tuesday sales. And people can shop online anytime."

With today's technology, customers can set their smartphones for comparison apps to alert them when the price has dropped on a desired sales item. "Technology has really changed the game," said Thomas, who conducts her Black Friday research with Winthrop colleague Cara Peters, also of the College of Business Administration.

Consumers have learned that prices will only get better in the days leading up to Christmas, Thomas said.

Retailers know that Black Friday is not a make or break day now. There was even some backlash for businesses who did not want to require their employers to work in the hours leading up to Thanksgiving.

Black Friday also has changed in meaning to not just mean holiday sales but any sales. "When you see items on sale that are not normally Christmas gifts, such as rugs or appliances, then Black Friday does not carry the power it once did," Thomas said.

There also is shopper fatigue as some companies offer their best sales in the summer, such as Amazon or Best Buy. "We find that consumers get bored with the game and are looking for a different reason to shop," Thomas said.

She has found that New York department stores are experimenting with drawing shoppers back into their stores by offering more pleasurable experiences, such as book stores, coffee shops and other amenities along with strong customer service.

More on Thomas' thoughts on the six types of Black Friday shoppers, can be found in a Fiscal Times article. Thomas also has been quoted on her research in the Charlotte Observer and the Rock Hill Herald.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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