Black Friday: The retail Christmas that never was?

Written by By Catie Parcel, CNN

Fashion and retail industry insiders are forecasting one of the biggest shopping days of the year will officially herald in the Black Friday sale in 2021.

For those shopping in store or online, the timing is no coincidence — November 28th is Black Friday, and is typically the day retailers dole out huge discounts.

But in an era of e-commerce, and with ever-changing consumer habits, 2018 has already seen Black Friday leapfrog its namesake in the fashion world. This year, April 29th was dubbed Pre-Black Friday.

Read more: How Black Friday has been changing — and shrinking — over the years

Apparel experts, retail consultants and designers have started looking further into the future. Most, however, predict the November holiday will soon be eclipsed by a day at the beginning of the year, six months into the year.

“There will be Black Friday in 2021, but you don’t need to wait until then to find deals,” says Nevena Borissova, Vice President at IMG Models. “The same applies to women’s fashion.”

“In future you can expect Black Friday for men’s clothing in the beginning of February, women’s wear in the first week of January and kids wear in late November and early December,” agrees Morey Ehrlich, Head of Global Brands at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Read more: Find out what Black Friday clothes looks like today — in this fake shop window

As for specific fashion brands, IMG predicts Victoria’s Secret will lead the pack, celebrating its brand 50th anniversary and continuing to celebrate its iconic brand partners to tie in with the holiday.

The QVC shopping channel has also speculated about Black Friday’s future. Although they claim they won’t be honoring the day, they’ve described it as a “major milestone that will become even more exciting in 2019.”

Refinery29 puts the idea about the longevity of Black Friday in particular, listing its predictions:

“By 2021, Black Friday may be the first day to see retailers slashing prices on back-to-school items, flashy winter coats, new screen-ready laptops, and even dates. And yes, the early birds can score even better deals. Black Friday will even get better as tech and beauty brands build shoppable goods and extended deals, stores catch up with the promise of new holiday merchandise that can be accessed online the day after Black Friday, and fashion editors and editors-in-chief of glossy magazines will use Black Friday as a way to create weeks’ worth of commiseration for their poor employees.”

“The days of Black Friday as the flagship holiday are coming to an end as retailers and retailers’ marketing teams continue to push an unlimited number of other major moments each year,” says Kate Garraway, Head of Merchandising for Boohoo.com.

She points to the trend of Cyber Monday, which was originated by the consumer website Ebay, as another event that’s predicted to extend well beyond the Black Friday hype. Cyber Monday, which began in 2005, is simply a 24-hour sale from retailers on the popular shopping platform.

“We’re starting to see Cyber Monday become the one day of the year when we see retailers launch their biggest sales and promotions to suit everyone’s shopping preference and budget,” says Garraway.

Read more: Black Friday fashion offers from Nordstrom, Stella McCartney and much more

Garraway predicts that for the luxury and designer clothes market, there will be a considerable change in the focus on price, with consumers spending less of their budgets on individual items and more on the desire to buy the best product for the best price.

The fashion industry is becoming more driven by social media, according to Garraway, who says that those brands which exploit influencers — or celebrities with an active social media presence — will benefit from the comparison shoppers will make.

As for the future of Black Friday, the concept of one day dominating the biggest shopping day of the year may not be necessary.

“With as much as 4 billion online shopping transactions happening every year, a single day does no one any favors,” says Garraway. “In the future, it will be right there, but it won’t dominate the month of November and December.”

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