Shedding Light on Black Friday

Black Friday is far and away the biggest shopping event of the year. Over 100 million people dragged themselves out of Turkey comas and into bustling stores in 2016 alone, according to The Balance.

Millions more participated in the shopping festivities online. However, despite Black Friday’s undeniable popularity, it’s also one of the most often misunderstood marketplace extravaganzas. With mysterious origins and an uncertain future in this digital age, many retailers aren’t sure quite what to make of Black Friday. Unfortunately, this results in myriad missed opportunities for all kinds of companies, who could be giving their customers happier holidays while boosting their businesses.

At Emojot, we’ve designed state-of-the-art surveys to help companies better understand how their consumers think and feel about their products, services, and sales. Our emoji-based surveys (called “Emotion Sensors®”) give businesses invaluable insights into their customers’ reactions to their brands. Our research team realized what a difference truly understanding Black Friday could make for our clients, so we decided to do what we do best: an Emotion Sensor®! We received responses from hundreds of customers, who shared their emotions, opinions, and general reactions to this massive shopping event.

In the following blog, learn more about the origins of Black Friday, current trends, and what we discovered based on our innovative Emotion Sensor®! This is the first in a series we’ll be publishing covering the ins and outs of Black Friday in depth, so check back next week!

Black Friday Beginnings

Even the most zealous shoppers and busiest retailers likely don’t know why this day after Thanksgiving event is called “Black” Friday. As it turns out, this name has quite the storied, and varied, history. The History Channel explains: “The first recorded use of the term ‘Black Friday’ was applied not to holiday shopping but to the financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.” Nefarious activities by “two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers” eventually caused the gold market to collapse, “sending the stock market into freefall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.” As you might have suspected, this economic disaster was not the inspiration for post-Thanksgiving sales.

The story retailers often tell about the title of Black Friday is that “after an entire year of operating at a loss (‘in the red’) stores would supposedly earn a profit (‘went into the black’) on the day after Thanksgiving” due to an abundance of holiday shopping. However, this story is also false. “The true story behind Black Friday,” The History Channel reports, is that “back in the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.” While this increased retail traffic caused quite the headache for law enforcement, the “crowds and traffic” were absolutely excellent for Philadelphia retailers. The concept of “Black Friday” permeated the rest of the United States “sometime in the late 1980s” when ‘retailers found a way to reinvent Black Friday and turn it into something that reflected positively…on them and their customers.” The shopping industry cleverly transformed this term and built a tradition that has successfully boosted retail business for decades. In this way, the history of the term Black Friday is itself a lesson for businesses; by finding a phrase with emotional resonance for shoppers and communities, the industry created an intensely profitable retail ritual.

The Shopping Holiday In the Twenty-First Century

Of course, stocking up on gifts is a very different experience today than it was back when Black Friday was born. The advent of the Internet, smartphones, eCommerce, and a plethora of other digital retail technologies has changed the way consumers interact with brands, check prices, and make purchases. Customers are just as likely to click through a site as they are to walk through a retailer’s doors.

Even beyond the digital experience, Black Friday is constantly evolving, since shopper’s needs, opinions, feelings, and preferences are ever-changing. The hot gifts of 2016 are likely obsolete or blase a year later. Similarly, one holiday season may be dominated by tech gifts, while another becomes almost entirely about apparel. These shifts can seem difficult to navigate, but they can be solved (and used to your advantage) with surveys. If you know what kinds of gifts consumers want to buy their loved ones and how they tend to shop in various market segments, you can utilize Black Friday to energize and expand your enterprise.

Our Sophisticated Emotion Sensor®

How do consumers feel about online shopping? What drives them to brick-and-mortar? Which kinds of gifts are they most interested in this year? Emojot recognized that the answers to these questions would be invaluable for modern businesses, so we went after them. We created our very own Emojot Emotion Sensor® survey to find out exactly how shoppers felt about this year’s post-Thanksgiving sales.

We had hundreds of emoters (respondents) from all across the United States and thousands of total responses! Statistically speaking, this means that our Emotion Sensor® has better than a 95 percent confidence level, with less than 5 percent margin of error. We asked our emoters everything contemporary companies need to know about Black Friday: where they plan to shop, why, how, what they enjoy about their retail experiences, which merchandisers are their favorites, and many other questions.

Click on the link to get access to see the full How Shoppers Feel About Their Black Friday Experience in 2017 infographic.

In the following blogs of this series on Black Friday, we’ll highlight key insights from our Emotion Sensor®, discuss how they relate to general retail trends, and explain how Emojot can help you take advantage of this newfound knowledge to grow your business

Making the Most of Black Friday with Emojot

Emojot is here to help you boom your business by knowing your customers better than ever! While the data we uncovered with our own, general Black Friday Emotion Sensor® is undoubtedly incredibly valuable for all businesses, you can gain even more actionable information by creating your very own Emotion Sensor®. Our sophisticated voice of customer Emotion Sensors® helps you truly hear your customers so you can give them exactly what they want. If knowledge is power, then knowledge of your clients’ thoughts and feelings is profit.

Discover More Valuable Data With Your Own Emotion Sensor®
Are you ready to set up your own Emotion Sensor® and gather the data you need to succeed on Black Friday and beyond? Contact us at today to schedule a free demonstration.