Several UH faculty members are available to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of this trend.
Jungkun Park, associate professor of Human Development and Consumer Sciences in the University’s College of Technology, says the reason is simple: sales. For many retailers, as much as 40 percent of sales take place during the holidays, he notes. Perhaps more important, online sales are growing every year.
“Everything is compressed. At the same time, they are trying to give consumers more convenience,” he said. And while some stores have insisted they won’t open on Thanksgiving Day – perhaps promoting the decision as a sign of social responsibility and a gift to their employees – Park said that ultimately, “the trend is extended hours.”
Betsy Gelb, a Bauer College marketing professor, suggests that multi-channel marketing among retailers will continue to bring in revenue throughout the holiday shopping season.
“Black Friday has merged the expectation of bargains with the fact that everybody likes holidays – and it has become a holiday in its own way, the only one focused solely on shopping,” said Gelb, who specializes in marketing strategy and advertising.
Andy Hines, coordinator of the College of Technology’s Foresight Program, suggests the mixed emotions with which Americans – and even retailers themselves – have greeted the rush to open on Thanksgiving Day indicates that we are no longer a monolithic society, if we ever were.
Hines, who wrote about changing consumer habits in his 2012 book “ConsumerShift: How Changing Values are Reshaping the Consumer Landscape,” says people with traditional values are likely the most upset with the drive to move up shopping to Thanksgiving Day, feeling “we’re mucking with tradition.”
“The moderns, the big drivers of consumption, are happy to have more commerce from a personal and economic perspective,” he said, while the “postmoderns” are likely to be a bit amused by it all.