The first shopping day of the Christmas season is now Black Thursday or what used to only be known as Thanksgiving.
Traditionalists may not like it, but even they will be joining the millennial generation in stores to get the best deals. With doorbuster sales now on Thursday, the line blurs between what used to be know as a day you eat too much to a day you race others for a half-priced Blue-Ray player.
Russ Boisjoly, SUNY Fredonia business school dean, said with the creation of shopping events like ''Cyber Monday'' in 2005 and ''Small Business Saturday'' in 2010, it was inevitable Black Friday would expand.
Signs at Michaels in the Lakewood Village Plaza advertising the store will open at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
''Part of it is the perception that you beat the really big crowds by starting earlier,'' he said about stores offering deals on Thanksgiving. ''Another thing driving the economy, and now the whole society, is the millennial generation. If they want something, they want it now and they want it in front of them immediately. This is rubbing off on other generations, like the baby boomer generation. They see their children or grandchildren get what they want right away and think they should have the same demand.''
Boisjoly said businesses are trying new ways to entice all shoppers to buy their deals. One way is for big-box stores to offer new specials online to beat competitors.
''To compete online, Target, J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart are going with if you buy it the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday they will delivery it that day. That is to compete with Amazon,'' he said.
Boisjoly said online shopping expansion has probably also led to late-night and midnight specials being offered at retailers.
''People have shifted shopping habits because of the Internet,'' he said. ''They don't mind anymore shopping at 10 at night or at midnight because they are sitting in front of their computer ordering gifts online. When sitting in front of their computer, if they read they can get an extra 10 or 20 percent off at the store at midnight, they will be there. That is why you see the Thursday creep. Stores now open from 8 p.m. to midnight or from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving for after-dinner shopping.''
Boisjoly said Black Friday evolved after retailers started doing research to find consumer preferences.
''They would research everything from where is the best place to put stuff on the shelves to what to put in aisle displays. Everyone does it now, from Wal-Mart to the local grocery store,'' he said. ''They also started doing research on how to stimulate more sales before Christmas to not have as many discounts the last few days before Christmas. That is when they discovered people started shopping the day after Thanksgiving. That is when people started their Christmas shopping. They started the sales and now some product lines like toys and clothing will get 30 percent of their year-end sales on the day after Thanksgiving. That is incredible.''