Black Friday is dead — and it's being replaced by an even bigger shopping event

  • The idea of Black Friday as a one-day shopping event finally died this year.
  • Its death comes as mobile shopping grows and the number of unique discounts decreases. 
  • Black November has now replaced Black Friday.

As Black Friday fades in importance, analysts and consumers are realizing they need a new name for the steep discounts shoppers enjoy ahead of the holiday season.

An ominous-sounding winner has emerged.

"It's no longer Black Friday," according to Marshal Cohen, head retail analyst at NPD Group, who spoke with the Boston Globe.

"It's now Black November."

As both total sales and discounts are now spread throughout the month, November has become a month-long shopping extravaganza. Online sales from November 1 through 22 totaled almost $30.4 billion this year, accounting for nearly 18% year-over-year growth, according to Adobe Analytics.

In fact, every single day in November so far saw over $1 billion in online sales, creating a new paradigm for both shoppers and retailers.

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Retailers closing stores in 2017
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Retailers closing stores in 2017


Black Friday remains one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but now it shares the spotlight with Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and the two weekend days in between. Thanksgiving has now edged out the rest of Black Friday weekend, making it the third-biggest shopping day of the year, according to Salesforce.

Online spending on Thanksgiving was up 29% this year compared to last year, according to data from Salesforce. In 2016, Thanksgiving online sales only increased 17% over 2015, suggesting that the rate of the holiday turning into a shopping event is quickening. 

Black Friday sales events start to creep earlier and earlier in November every year as retailers try to get the jump on each other. The terms "Black Friday week" and "Black Friday Weekend" are getting used more and more.

This year, Target hosted online Black Friday deals for holders of its credit card on November 22, two days before Black Friday. Amazon launched its Black Friday store on November 1, and Sears had already put its entire store on sale by then.

And, the sales on Black Friday aren't any better than the sales held earlier in November, according to analysts at Instinet.

Another reason for the death of Black Friday is the new ubiquity of shopping on smartphones, which enable shoppers to browse and purchase online anywhere and anytime. Phones have driven the growth of sales on Thanksgiving, accounting for 46% of all retailer traffic, according to Adobe — an increase of more than 15% over last year. At the same time, traffic decreased from both tablets and desktops, making mobile the most popular option for Thanksgiving shopping for the first time ever.

Cyber Monday is also on track to become the biggest US online shopping day ever, driven by mobile purchasing and the ease of auto-filling services like Apple Pay, Adobe says.

 Black Friday isn't just a day anymore — it's a whole season.

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Photos of shockingly empty stores prove that Black Friday as we know it is dead — but retailers still have a chance to dominate

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