Most people believe that the term Black Friday originated in Philadelphia in the 1960’s. The Philly police complained about the congested streets, traffic, and shoppers. They coined the term to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and the time when stores’ revenue moved from the red to the black. This day has become the biggest shopping day of the year and to encourage spending, stores have sponsored large price savings also known as Black Friday deals.
During the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend, 189.6 million U.S. shoppers spent an average of $362 per person. Online shoppers spent $11.9 billion in online sales (a 20% increase over 2018). Online shopping will likely be even greater this year due to the pandemic.
Black Friday has become ingrained in the American psyche. In previous years, families have developed social traditions where they spend the entire day after Thanksgiving completing their Christmas shopping together. For many this has become a large festive shopping party. Some families have even camped out the night before stores open to capture the best deals when stores open.
As an extension of Black Friday, many stores have remained open on Thanksgiving Day to encourage early Christmas shopping. This year, in response to the increasing COVID infection rates, most stores have cancelled their Thanksgiving Day shopping. The following retailers have announced that this year they will remain closed on Thanksgiving:
|Office Depot/OfficeMax||JC Penney||Nordstrom|
|Bed Bath & Beyond||GameStop||Macy’s|
|Barnes & Noble||Walmart||Target|
|Hobby Lobby||Best Buy||Ikea|
|Jos. A. Banks||Dillard’s||Belk|
These Thursday closings are expected to make this year’s Black Friday one of the biggest shopping days in history. Many shoppers will avoid stores and the crowds. They will likely do most of their shopping online.
I hope you will consider doing most of your shopping locally this year. Most small businesses are in a fragile, precarious condition and it will help them enormously if you focus your spending on these establishments in your community. Many of these companies are set up for online shopping, allowing you to avoid crowds and the risk of COVID.
Some suggestions for gift cards:
- Local restaurant
- Local bookstore
- Local spa or nail salon
- Local home design or decorators
- Local gourmet food retailers
- Commission a local artist to paint a favorite photo, pet, your home, hunting club, etc.
- One last option- One of the country’s only maker of interstate signs is based in Little Rock, Interstate Signways. They have developed a site on Amazon to order Custom metal signs. They are well crafted, and have only a two-day turn around. We have made signs for our yard, and a friend’s duck club. This would be a fun and unusual gift. Explore their Amazon website at https://www.amazon.com/signways.
If you plan to shop online, I recommend that you complete your shopping early this year. In addition to the chance that items sell out earlier this year, the major delivery companies (Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service) have announced that they are already working at capacity. The increased holiday online shopping is likely to result in delays. You cannot plan on 2-day delivery in later December if you delay.
Please plan to support local businesses with your holiday gift giving. You can have a huge impact on your community based on where you choose to spend your money. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
As always, we are here for you. Please email or call if you want to set up a Zoom videoconference meeting or talk by phone.
Ralph Broadwater, M.D., CFP®, AIF®
© 2020 The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc., All rights reserved.
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