It’s late November and that means three things: ironic mustaches are reaching their peak, holiday decorations are (finally) becoming seasonally appropriate and retailers are jockeying to be the preferred Black Friday destination for deal-seeking shoppers. In recent years, that has meant opening earlier and extending Black Friday doorbusters into the weekend and beyond.
But do stores actually benefit by extending their Black Friday deals, or are they merely spreading out the week’s sales? To answer that question, we zeroed in on two key retailers, Target and Walmart. Our team analyzed millions of receipts from the past two Black Fridays, and followed each retailer’s share-of-wallet across key categories.
In 2014, Target focused its attention on the week leading up to Black Friday, with 30-60% off select items all week. The main event was on Friday, when Target offered 10% off gift cards for the first time ever (Friday Only). As a result, Target increased its share-of-wallet during the week before Black Friday and on the day itself, but lost share during the following week when their deals ended.
Walmart did not change its hours of operation in 2014, and extended its Black Friday deals throughout the following week, gaining share during that time. Despite not having any special events in the week before Black Friday, Walmart saw share gains here as well.
While Target was able to gain share by bringing savings to the consumer first and offering discounted gift cards, it paid for it in the following week when Walmart’s promotions were just getting started. Target shoppers seemed to recognize when the deals had moved on, and many of them moved on with them. Walmart’s strategy of extending its promotion into December seems to flow more naturally into the rest of the Holiday shopping season, allowing the retailer to avoid any painful dips in sales.
So, does it pay to extend Black Friday deals? That all depends on whether you view the shopping holiday as dessert, or just an appetizer.