Historians, according to a round-up of Thanksgiving facts from the U.S. Census Bureau, recorded other “ceremonies of thanks” given by various groups of European settlers in North America — not just pilgrims. Indeed, most of these were probably Biblically-derived, and “included the British colonists in Virginia as early as 1619.”
But it was the feast near Plymouth Rock that stuck in the national consciousness, and that particular “ceremony of thanks” eventually “became a national holiday 153 years ago (Oct. 3, 1863) when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving Day should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.”
So it wasn’t always just about shopping! But now the week seems inseparable from the idea of not only baking and cooking, but delving into the year’s biggest season of sales.
But even the de facto semi-holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are changing. Business Insider reports that “foot traffic in stores this year is expected to fall by about 3.5% on Black Friday compared to last year, according to data from the location tracking service Foursquare.”
This is attributed to a trend where “over the last several years, shopper traffic in stores on Black Friday has been falling with many retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon kicking off their holiday discounts online several weeks in advance.”
And yet, by the same token, Forbes says that revenue on Black Friday “will be bigger than ever. For the first time, sales are expected to exceed $3 billion, an 11.5% increase over last year.” Of course, Cyber Monday sales are also expected to hit that same mark, lending creedence to the assertion in the Business Insider overview that “about 137.4 million people are expected to shop in stores and online over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That’s up from 135.8 million who shopped over the long weekend last year.”
Overall, holiday spending is expected to wind up somewhere north of a (whopping) $650 billion.
The Forbes overview concludes that “in short, the economy is good and the holiday season will be good for retail. If anything might tarnish the holiday season, it is the low social media response stats. So, for the holidays this year, give your customers the gift of an amazing customer experience. Treat them to great service before, during and after the sale – as well as on social media.”
In other words, be good to your customers both online and off, whether they’re buying through our website, or standing in line in front of your (now secure, yes?) POS devices.
AVPS can help, and we’re mostly around this week, to boot. Though you know, we’ll be off ladling the gravy with our family and friends when the big day rolls around. Great holidays to you n’ yours!