Quantcast

Americans Become Disenchanted With Black Friday

Business

Black Friday is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but this year there seems to be some backlash.

REI made waves last month when it announced that it would be closing all of its 143 retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. All 12,000 full- and part-time employees will receive paid time off as the company encourages them to #OptOutside instead.

According to REI CEO Jerry Stritzke, the company made the decision to close on Black Friday because it wanted to be “authentic” to its brand. Many companies and organizations have publicly supported REI's anti-Black Friday movement:

And now the states of California and Minnesota are making it even more affordable to do so. Save the Redwoods League was inspired by REI to sponsor free admission to 49 participating California redwood state parks on Black Friday, billing it as “the best bargain you’re going to find this Black Friday," according to NBC Bay Area.

Minnesota's Lt. Governor Tina Smith told The Minnesota Post that the state's 76 state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Black Friday.

“Visiting these parks is a great way to spend time with family and loved ones, relieve stress and enjoy exercise in the great outdoors,” Smith said.

But is this what the majority of Americans truly want?

Read page 1

Research says yes. According to a report published by WalletHub earlier this month, more than half of those surveyed believe that shops should not open at all Thanksgiving Day. Bankrate, a personal finance organization, determined that 62 percent of consumers are cutting back on their Black Friday spending, according to Albuquerque Business Journal.

Despite the growing distaste for Black Friday, nearly 100 million people still plan to shop on the holiday, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey. About 85 to 90 million people turn out every year. Though the number of shoppers has been on a slight decline, as has overall spending, it's not as if Black Friday will completely disappear any time soon. Americans are projected to drop some $50 million over the Black Friday weekend.

But the discontent for the shopping spree is hard to ignore.

"In recent years, both retailers and consumers have witnessed a backlash against encroaching Black Friday hours," said JP Griffin Group. "For one, retailers are forced to offer unprofitable deals and pay employees for all those extra hours in order to compete with the box store next door and profits on Black Friday have been disappointing in recent years even as the economy is recovering. Beyond that, it seems most shoppers besides the diehard deal hunters are simply tired of the crowds and frenzied consumerism associated with Black Friday, and are opting to shop online."

Yesterday, the hashtag #BlackFridayIn3Words was trending on Twitter, and let's just say most users were not too thrilled about the so-called shopping holiday.

Read page 1

One of the original anti-Black Friday companies, Patagonia, ran this full-page ad in the New York Times discouraging consumers from spending money on Black Friday in 2011:

Though Patagonia doesn't close its stores on Black Friday, they suggest customers sit out "Cyber Monday" on their website. And in 2013, it launched its Responsible Economy campaign, declaring that "growth is dead." And for the past several years, the company has been focusing on its Worn Wear program, which evolved from the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad campaign.

As part of that effort, they run the largest garment repair factory in North America—with upwards of 30,000 repairs per year. They've also invested in Yerdle, a web startup that allows you to swap items via its app, and Beyond Surface Technologies, a Swiss start-up that’s developing high-quality, durable textiles based on natural raw materials.

These investments were both part of its $20 Million & Change venture fund that invests in companies making positive impacts on the environment. And they took their Worn Wear program on the road this past spring, driving a biodiesel-fueled, reclaimed wood camper around the country and teaching people how to repair their gear (Patagonia or other brands), so that they wouldn't have to buy more stuff.

Patagonia launched a national mobile tour to teach people how to repair their gear, so they don't have to buy new stuff. Photo credit: Patagonia

So how has this anti-growth strategy worked for Patagonia's sales? Pretty darn well. Patagonia expects to gross about $600 million this year, according to the New Yorker. In fact, encouraging people to buy less has ironically spurred sales. Cynics will say Patagonia's "buy less" is just a very effective marketing campaign. But the company has the environmentally- and socially-conscious cred to back it up. In addition to the aforementioned campaigns, it also "donates one percent of its revenue to environmental causes" and "co-founded the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, in which such companies as Target and Walmart pledged to lighten their environmental footprints," according to Bloomberg.

Patagonia isn't alone in offering environmentally and socially responsible goods this Black Friday. Everlane, an online clothing company, will be giving all of the profits it makes from its Black Friday sales directly to the workers who make the T-shirts in the company's L.A. factory. The company used to boycott Black Friday entirely, shutting down the website for the day. But Everlane CEO Michael Preysman said, "people just go somewhere else." By staying open, but donating the profits, "it's a way for us to be open and available for our customers while I think reinforcing the values that we stand for," explained Preysman.

FastCoExist reported:

The company hopes to raise $100,000 through its Black Friday Fund to create a new wellness program for factory workers, offering on-site health care, free food and English classes. For food, instead of offering free lunches like you might find at Google and recognizing that workers tend to bring lunches from home, they'll offer free groceries instead.

In 2014, the first time they tested the Black Friday program, they raised money for the silk factory that they work with in Hangzhou, China, and bought solar panels for the workers' on-campus apartments. "Every year, we come up with a different initiative and see how we can push the boundaries," Preysman said.

Companies like REI, Patagonia and Everlane are at the forefront of this eco-conscious consumerism trend that is encouraging people to rethink their shopping habits on Black Friday and beyond.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

World’s Largest Organic Rooftop Farm Powered 100% by Renewables Opens in Chicago

100% Clean Energy is 100% Possible

An Organic Indoor Vertical Farm May Be Coming to a City Near You

REI to Boycott Black Friday, Encourage Americans to #OptOutside

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage in Connecticut. Dannel Malloy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.

Read More Show Less
Giant sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park, California. lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.

Read More Show Less
Vera_Petrunina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Wudan Yan

In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."

Read More Show Less
Volunteer caucasian woman giving grain to starving African children. Bartosz Hadyniak / E+ / Getty Images

By Frances Moore Lappé

Food will be scarce, expensive and less nutritious," CNN warns us in its coverage of the UN's new "Climate Change and Land" report. The New York Times announces that "Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
British Airways 757. Jon Osborne / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Vaughan

Two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change, polling has found.

Read More Show Less
Climate Week NYC

On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.

Read More Show Less

By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans

Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.

Read More Show Less