Every Day is Black Friday

Officially we’re a week out from Black Friday, but with stores like Gap opening their doors on Thanksgiving day, Black Friday has a new definition.

Retail CMOs anticipate solid, but not stellar results for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. According to our fifth-annual Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, just 27% expect to see an increase in Black Friday sales and 24% project an increase in Cyber Monday sales. The vast majority (74%) expect flat sales. Overall, CMOs project a 1.6% increase in Black Friday sales (down from the projected 3.8% in 2010) and 2.5% increase in Cyber Monday sales (same as in 2010).

Intense competition and the earlier start to the season are the primary reasons behind lower projections for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Big discounts are not just coming earlier; they’re coming consistently throughout the season. A vast majority of CMOs (78%) say they expect to see more discounts and promotions overall this holiday season compared to last year. This is up 21% from 2010 when 64% of retailers said they expected to see more discounting.

Black Friday isn’t going anywhere in retailers’ marketing calendars…for now… but with discounts coming into shoppers inboxes every day, there’s a “been there and done that” sentiment among consumers. The key to success this holiday season is for retailers to hit still-struggling consumers with innovative promotions and frequent spending triggers throughout the season.

Look for those spending triggers to be focused on getting shoppers both in stores and online. Forty-two percent of CMOs say they are equally focusing promotions and discounts online and in stores this year – a dramatic change from 2010 when 59% said they were focusing the majority of promotions and discounts only in stores.

Stay tuned for more from our CMO survey on plans for holiday promotions and discounts.