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Is Black Friday a Thing of the Past? Not for Mobile

I recently ordered a new Weber grill from The Home Depot. When it was delivered, I discovered it was the floor model, and it wasn't the perfect grill I had anticipated. I called the local store, and -- long story short -- my friends at The Home Depot gave me a significant discount for not letting me know ahead of time that it was the only one left and they didn't want to disappoint me and not deliver anything. Suddenly, after a little elbow grease, my grill became perfect and I was over the moon. Why? Because we all love a great deal!

That is why so many of us, especially here in the States, look forward to Black Friday and the opportunity to find bargains. While I am an online Black Friday shopper, many shoppers prefer the excitement and social aspect of being in-store on the big day. Things have changed this year.

It turns out that The Home Depot anticipates the lack of in-store foot traffic and a surge in online traffic, so they canceled Black Friday. According to CNN's reporting, "Instead of a single day, Home Depot said it will offer Black Friday discounts for two months, beginning in early November through December." It also noted that "mobile app users will get exclusive early access to some discounts in November." 

I think The Home Depot has made an incredibly strategic decision to spread out its sales, and in turn, its staff, logistical coordination, online peak, and more. The fact that mobile app users get exclusive access to some discounts is brilliant. If a consumer downloads an app, it means that they are a loyal customer and in turn deserve special rewards. 

By the way, mobile shopping has been on the rise for years, but this year it's likely to increase by double-digit percentages.

In 2017, 50.24% of online shopping on Akamai's platform happened on mobile devices; this increased to 57.55% in 2018 and again up to 62.29% in 2019. Even though some retailers like The Home Depot are spreading out promotions across two months, with a huge percentage of Americans at home on Black Friday, and many not willing to shop in-store at all, I think we're going to see that mobile number jump to 72% on Black Friday this year.

The Home Depot's not alone in reimagining holiday shopping. Several in-person stores are closing on Thanksgiving Day, including:

  • Walmart/Sam's Club
  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • Kohl's
  • Dick's Sporting Goods
  • TJ Maxx
  • JCPenney
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Office Depot

Folks who were looking for in-store Black Friday sales right at midnight will need to wait until the "real" morning on Friday. Or they can always turn to their mobile device at midnight. 

As the world's largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot knows a thing or two about running a successful business, and I think we're going to see many other retailers follow suit. 


You can learn more about how Akamai helps its retail customers at akamai.com/retail.