The procrastinators are expected to rule the calendar this holiday season.
According to forecasts from analytics firm RetailNext, a late surge in shopping will make Friday Dec. 23 the largest shopping day of the season by sales. Super Saturday, on Dec. 17, is expected to be the second-biggest sales day, while Black Friday is projected to come in third place.
“As retailers have continued the trend to open more stores on Thanksgiving Day, it has pilfered away both sales and traffic from Black Friday,” said Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “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.”
While Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturday as well as that last Friday before Christmas will all be big days, Kohan noted that those retailers that “reinvent Thanksgiving weekend shopping as more of a month-long event culminating with the holiday weekend will start the season strong.”
She also said retailers wanting to win the day in December would have to be nimble enough to respond to what shoppers are telling them in November.
The projection amounts to another blow to Black Friday — which has been weakened by online sales that started on Cyber Monday, but have spread out into the weekend, and by Thanksgiving Day itself.
Although, there are also signs that the drive to kick off the holiday sales season while the turkey is still warm on the table is letting up.
On Wednesday, executives at Mall of America — North America’s largest shopping destination with 5.6 million square feet — said the mall would stay closed this Thanksgiving so its 15,000 employees could be with their families.
“We have made the decision to close on Thanksgiving Day so that team members can put that energy where it matters most, into making memories with the people they care about most,” mall executives wrote in a letter to employees.
That might have been an easier call to make given that the biggest sales days could come closer to Christmas.
The 10 top shopping days this holiday, according to RetailNext’s projections, will be:
Friday, Dec. 23
Super Saturday, Dec. 17
Black Friday, Nov. 25
Thursday, Dec. 22
Wednesday, Dec. 21
Sunday, Dec. 18
Saturday, Dec. 24
Saturday, Dec. 10
Friday, Dec. 16
Saturday, Dec. 3