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Black Friday Will Not Top Holiday Shopping Days This Year

Super Saturday is the new Black Friday.

According to a RetailNext holiday season forecast published Thursday, Black Friday will lose its title as the most popular shopping day this holiday season. For the first time in years, Black Friday will be replaced by Friday, Dec. 23 and Super Saturday (Dec. 17). Together, these shopping days will drive the most sales and store traffic from November to January.

“This year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, most shoppers will want to cut short their shopping early on Saturday, Dec. 24, leaving the day before, Friday, as retail’s biggest opportunity for sales,” said Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “For store visits, Super Saturday will lead the way, with Black Friday a very close second.”

As retailers continue to keep stores open on Thanksgiving Day, consumers don’t feel the pressure to wake up early, deal with long lines and stress over discounts for Black Friday. With this in mind, retailers are now transitioning the traditional holiday shopping process into a month-long ordeal. Furthermore, retailers are noting the need for convenience and offering more omnichannel services to consumers.

“While Black Friday, Super Saturday and Cyber Monday all continue their starring roles alongside Dec. 23 this year,” Kohan continued, “Those retailers who reimagine and reinvent Thanksgiving weekend shopping as more of a month-long event culminating with the holiday weekend will start the season strong, and those retailers nimble and agile enough to tactically respond in December on lessons learned in November will ultimately win the season.”

While RetailNext predicted that Friday, Dec. 23, and Super Saturday will be the busiest and biggest shopping days of the upcoming holiday season, Black Friday follows, stealing second and third place for the busiest and biggest holiday shopping day respectively. At the bottom of the list are Friday, Dec. 16 and Saturday, Dec. 3, since those days fall in between the holiday shopping cycle.

Despite this change in holiday shopping days, RetailNext anticipates that the 2016 season will be a boon for the retail industry, with a 3.2% year-over-year increase in sales and a 14.9% increase in year-over-year sales via digital channels, including m-commerce and e-commerce.

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“There will be slight degrees of variability in early November due to the U.S. presidential election, but the residual angst from Election 2016 will subside by Thanksgiving,” Kohan said. “As compared to last year, there are two additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when coupled with generally positive economic indicators, the retail industry looks for a strong close to the year.”