The Top 5 Big “Duhs” From Black Friday Weekend

Now that the retail dust has settled a bit from the Big Bad Black (and Blue too) Weekend, all the experts are coming out with their takes on how it went: consultants, financial analysts, civilians of all kinds and, worst of all, journalists, are all out there this morning spinning it.

Who are we not to join in on the fun?

But we thought we would judge the judgers and give our take on how all these wrap-ups went. Here are our Top Five “Duhs” – the obvious conclusions drawn this morning that basically could have been written last month. Can you say predictable?

1. Consumers Wanted Bargains

Has there ever been a Black Friday Weekend – hell, anytime ever in the history of shopping – when shoppers weren’t looking for a good price? Maybe there was a little more of it this time around given some pressed pocketbooks but basically the need for cheap is really just a constant in the retail world this weekend. If I read one more interview with a woman from Paramus, NJ saying she was looking for a deal, my head was going to explode.

2. And So, There Were More Deals

Again, another constant of the Black Weekend tradition, retailers offering incredible deals on all kinds of things. And while many of them were scams or bait-and-switches, there were plenty of legitimate savings to be had out there for savvy shoppers. But how is this different from any other year, even the past two years when demand outdid supply but stores still promoted more than you would have thought.

3. In-Store Traffic Was Up

Were we really expecting something else when it came to the number of shoppers in stores? After the pandemic-starved era when consumers stayed away from closed spaces it was a given that more would be returning to physical stores than they had since 2019. The big news would have been if they hadn’t.

4. Online Was Kind of Flat

Maybe there were small single-digit gains in e-commerce this past weekend – and we still have the ridiculously named Cyber Monday to get through today – but with consumers going to stores again and still pressed on overall purchases, online shopping was of course going to suffer. We’ve seen this since the spring and we’ll keep seeing it well into 2023.

5. Business Was Up (Spoiler: Not Really)

Here’s the real killer: all those headlines about sales up 6, 7, 8 or 9% for the weekend without any context. Sure, top line revenues would be up by those amounts, but so is inflation. Factoring in the rise of prices, we saw a Black Weekend when the actual number of goods purchased was pretty much flat. Why didn’t anyone say this?

Handicapping retailing during the Thanksgiving Weekend has become a crowd-participation sport with everyone getting in on the action. Remember when people in the business never even used the “Black” designation and it was only the civilians who said it, trying to look like they knew what they were talking about.

It all brings to mind a great Groucho line when he is explaining something and says, “I guess I know what I’m talking about…then again, it’s only a guess.”

We guess that’s very true for this past weekend.

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