Black Friday is losing appeal for US shoppers, but it's not as good as it sounds

Santa meditating - Adbusters
© Adbusters

Consumerism is still ingrained, which is why we need to fight back with the 'Buy Nothing' movement.

A news report from USA Today suggests that Black Friday is losing some of its appeal for American shoppers. This week, 35 percent of shoppers say they "intend to do most of their shopping on Black Friday, [which is] down from 59 percent in 2015." That's a significant decrease that had this Black Friday-hating TreeHugger jumping for joy... ever so briefly.

Then I realized this does not actually spell a reduction in overall consumption, but rather a spreading out of purchases. Shoppers are starting earlier in the year and extending later, all the way to Super Saturday (the Saturday before Christmas), which USA Today says has actually surpassed Black Friday in total sales since 2014. Then there's the usual Boxing Day frenzy in English-speaking countries outside of the U.S., which, at least here in Canada, is arguably a bigger deal than Black Friday, although retailers have been trying hard to grow it in recent years.

The Internet has also diminished people's interest in Black Friday, since deals and free shipping are available at any time. As Dawn Eber of PwC Consultancy told USA Today:

"Consumers know when the sales are. They're becoming more adept at their online shopping and walking into the stores on that particular day doesn't bear as much of a return in terms of pricing, which still is the number one driver."

Although we've preached it many times on TreeHugger, it bears repeating that BUY NOTHING DAY is a much smarter, cheaper, greener, and all-round more ethical alternative to the soul-suck that is Black Friday. Originally launched by a Canadian counter-culture media group called Adbusters, the message to consume less is more relevant than ever, whether it's avoiding buying anything on Black Friday, simply to make a statement, or opting for a #BuyNothingXmas.

Adbusters Buy Nothing DayAdbusters/Screen capture

From the Buy Nothing Day website:

"As the Christmas season approaches, keep in mind that buying stuff will never make you happy. It might lift your spirits for a few hours, or if you’re lucky, maybe a day or two, but in the end (and we mean the real end) your connections, your friends, your family, and your human experiences are all you’ve really got. So this year, at this moment in history when the existential threat of climate change is breathing down our necks, why not do something wildly different: Ignore Black Friday -- decide to do things differently this year."

You could also become an anti-consumerist activist for a day! Adbusters has some amusing suggestions for protesting:

-- Credit card cut-up
"Stand in a shopping mall with a pair of scissors and a sign offering passers by a simple service: sparing them from extortionate interest rates and mounting debt with one considerate cut."

-- Zombie Walk
"Follow the logic of capitalist consumption to its inevitable, cannibalistic conclusion: Wander the malls as a walking dead."

-- Jesus Walk
"Put on a Jesus mask and walk — ever-so-slowly — through throngs of Christmas shoppers."

-- Whirly-Mart
"Congregate a few of your closest friends and all silently drive your shopping carts around in a long, inexplicable conga line without ever actually buying anything."

How will you spend your Black Friday?

Black Friday is losing appeal for US shoppers, but it's not as good as it sounds
Consumerism is still ingrained, which is why we need to fight back with the 'Buy Nothing' movement.

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