Black Friday shopping; Online vs In-store

Sumayah Baloch, Staff Writer

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, prices are lowered and stores are filled with people and Christmas is near. When people think of Black Friday, long lines, cheap prices, people fighting over items and people camping outside stores come to mind. Nowadays, not as many people are camping outside stores and the crowds have gotten smaller. This is because more and more people are shopping online. 

“Retailers brought in some $7.9 billion in online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, up almost 18 percent from a year ago,” said  Leada Gore, Journalist from

That study was from 2017. Online shopping is increasing but going in-store shopping is decreasing.  

 “In 2018, it fell as much as 9 percent from 2017. The number of people visiting stores in 2017 was 4 percent lower than in 2016,” said Kimberly Amadeo, U.S Economy Expert for The Balance. 

Online shopping is getting more popular every year. A study conducted in 2016 showed that 79 percent of  Americans prefer to shop online instead of going into the store. Some reasons include the fact that some items are cheaper online than in stores and it is a lot easier to purchase something with the click of a button.

According to Adobe Systems, online sales from Wednesday to Black Friday was 26.4 percent higher than in 2017. In 2017, online sales were up 18 percent and between Nov. 1, 2017 and Dec 24, 2017. Online shopping grew 19.1 percent during that time.

Even though many people prefer to shop online, there are still many who like to go into the stores. Some may ask why people would go into the store when it is easier (in most cases) and less chaotic to buy things online on Black Friday. There are a variety of different answers to this. One of those answers is tradition.

“When it becomes a part of a ritual or tradition it … is valued in a certain way because perhaps when you were growing up you did this with your parents, so doing it again creates those same special feelings,” said Ravi Dhar, director of the Center for Customer Insights at Yale University. 

An example of this tradition is camping outside of stores.Teresa Shaw, an Athens parent, participates in this tradition on Black Friday.

“It’s just a tradition that we always do at our favorite stores to get really great deals,” said Shaw.

Another reason why some people prefer going out and shopping on Black Friday are the inconsistencies in clothing sizing when buying online versus in real life. Some things are a lot bigger or smaller in real-life. Shoppers can’t really tell the size of something while looking at it from a computer screen. People want to try on clothing items and see if they fit.

Online shopping is increasing but many people still go into stores on Black Friday. Businesses will need better ways to attract customers to come to the store and some like Best Buy are selling specific items in stores only. Overall, both ways of shopping have their advantages and disadvantages. 

“As retailers began to realize they could draw big crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the day to shop, even better than those last-minute Christmas sales. Some retailers put their items up for sale on the morning of Thanksgiving, or email online specials to consumers days or weeks before the actual event. The most shopped for items are electronics and popular toys, as these may be the most drastically discounted … prices are slashed on everything from home furnishings to apparel,” said the staff of