Holiday Shopping: Economic Impact

By Ethan James, Trending Writer

Is Black Friday actually the most profitable day of the year? No. Is Black Friday the busiest shopping day of the year? Yes.

The discrepancy between foot traffic and sales comes from the fact that even though Black Friday signals the start of the holiday season, it is not the largest day of buying. Sure, Black Friday boasts sales that are eye-popping in the amount of money raked in by businesses, boasting a $7.9 billion dollars in profit. There are also many other factors to what can make a day of business profitable, no matter how many shoppers enter or leave the store.

The reasons for Black Friday not being the most profitable day of the year includes the fact that although shoppers go into stores and buy online, the amount bought is not as wild as those trying to fulfill Christmas wish-lists, Secret Santa shopping, and last minute gifts due to procrastination. The sales from the Saturday before Christmas bring in a higher profit margin, as deal hunting is not number one priority of these shoppers.

Even so, the causes for Black Friday to be so strongly associated as the largest day of shopping and profits is due to the incredible number of shoppers making purchases. With over 95 million shoppers entering stores and malls over the country and millions more making purchases online, there is no denial that Black Friday has a significant impact on profits of businesses, making from 30 upwards to 40 percent of annual profit. This number has increased from 74 million in 2015, which had record sales in that year as well.

Another important part of Black Friday, although it may not be the most profitable day of the year is that it is a signal to businesses what is popular and what is not. As the incredible number of shoppers pour into stores and begin shopping online, companies learn which products should be pushed throughout the holiday shopping season. The shopping also indicates a significant change in how people are shopping. From 2016 to 2017, the amount of foot traffic went down 4 percent, signaling to companies that online shopping is not only here to stay, but may in fact may have a larger sales impact that previously anticipated.

Many shoppers enjoy entering stores, seeing products, trying on clothes, testing out electronics and so much more, but Black Friday has shown that the trend to shop online is growing. Black Friday may not be the largest day of profit, but has one of the most important roles of holiday shopping in  indicating where consumers are doing their shopping and what is most profitable.


A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 12th print edition.

Contact Ethan at


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