Has the US Presidential election cast a shadow on Black Friday 2016?

As US President-elect Donald Trump gears up to take office from the 44th and current President of the United States, pundits are having a field day trying to estimate the impact that will likely have on the US citizens. Among the immediate concerns is the impact the election result will have on the holiday spending, especially Black Friday on November 25, 2016.

While some are ambivalent about it, most media reports have indicated that Black Friday might not see as spectacular spending as expected. According to a news article, this year, Veterans Day – the first peak of several peak spending days during the holiday season – failed to kick off holiday spending. It was reported that the sales were $380 million lower than expected, at $1.16 billion. Quoting Adobe Digital Insights, the report indicated that the sales registered a measly 1% growth over a year earlier, against the predicted growth of 16%.
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester
Another report quoting data from Adobe says that between November 1 and November 14, retailers have lost over $800 million in revenue from online sales. The sharpest drop occurred after the election, with total sales growth slowing to only 1.3%, against Adobe’s prediction for growth of 7.8%.

What’s Black Friday?

The day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Since 1932, on the fourth Thursday of November, most major retailers in the US open very early – as early as overnight hours – and offer promotional sales.

Touted as the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, the term Black Friday was coined in 1961. It represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black”.

But Black Friday as the kickoff to the holiday spending season has not been a real trend in retail for many years now. Many retailers have now spread out their promotions over full months of November and December, rather than concentrate them on a single shopping day or weekend.

Trumping over Black Friday

Elections in any country are a messy affair. While Republican Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton were verbally sparring over various issues, their supporters took the fight to the street. Now, after the results are out, they are likely to cast a shadow over the festive shopping.

According to a report, Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussel is concerned that the election may have created visible divides and consumers might direct their loyalties over the next several weeks. The outcome may not be small as some businesses might think. Seconding his opinion, senior vice-president for Government Relations at the National Retail Federation, David French, has reportedly said that the current degree of uncertainty and anxiety will impact consumer confidence.

Trump’s verbal sparring with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gained quite a press for months. So, after the billionaire tycoon’s victory over Clinton, some reports indicate that things could get a lot tougher for the American online retailer. Thus far, for 22 years now, Amazon has been enjoying its unbroken and dramatic sales growth day on Black Friday.

While retailer Walmart doesn’t see a sales lift amid a post-election stock market rally, competition Target is veering towards optimism. According to reports, shoppers may decide to continue spending cautiously, given the uncertainty ahead of Trump’s inauguration on January 2017.

Black Friday in India!

With a growing number of e-commerce websites, the popularity of Black Friday is also increasing in India. The big e-commerce retailers in India are trying to emulate the concept of shopping festivals like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to Google Trends, the interest for Black Friday in India is rising every year.


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