holiday shoppers

Walmart, Target, and More Unveil Black Friday Plans, But Will Shoppers Care?

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie Grill-Goodman profile picture

Black Friday is just over a month away and retailers are revealing their plans, but will shoppers take advantage of sales November 25?

Twenty-nine percent of shoppers plan to take advantage of deals on Black Friday to offset rising prices, a new survey from Deloitte finds. That number is up from 25% in 2021, according to its 37th annual Holiday Retail Survey, and just slightly lower than the one in three consumers (30%) planning to shop Cyber Monday. However, the holiday shopping season continues to pull forward, with 23% of holiday budgets expected to be spent by the end of October, compared to 18% in 2021. Meanwhile, 60% of retailers are also planning to start their holiday promotions at least one to two weeks earlier than last year.

Target, for example, announced its “biggest savings of the season” starts three weeks earlier than last year with “Weeklong Black Friday Deals” and the return of its “Deal of the Day” promotion available as of October 10. New weekly deals debut each Sunday through Thanksgiving weekend, with select offers available exclusively online. Daily deals are available through December 24.

[See also: Holiday Retail Forecasts and Predictions for 2022]

“By making our Black Friday deals available even earlier this year, and bringing back our popular Deal of the Day, we’re giving guests even more reasons to choose Target for everything they want and need this holiday season,” Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief growth officer, Target, said in a press release.

New this year, Walmart’s “Black Friday Deals for Days” events will begin every Monday in November on Walmart is also bringing back its Early Access benefit for Walmart+ members and giving members online access to shop deals seven hours before the scheduled start times for all three events, up from four hours ahead of public access last year

“We heard how much our Walmart+ members loved being first in line to shop our ‘Deals for Days’ events last year, so this year we’re excited to offer them even more of a head start,” said Chris Cracchiolo, SVP and general manager, Walmart+, in a press release. “We’re always looking for ways to make shopping convenient and fun for Walmart+ members, and early access gives them extra time to save more money with a lot less stress – and that’s what Walmart+ is all about.”  

In addition to extending member access, this year and the Walmart App will feature a streamlined Black Friday site experience that highlights all Walmart’s deals in “one easy-to-navigate digital destination.” Walmart shoppers will be able to see real-time pickup and delivery options for Black Friday items.  

Walmart PR
This year and the Walmart App will feature a streamlined Black Friday site experience that highlights all Walmart’s deals in “one easy-to-navigate digital destination.” Shoppers will be able to see real-time pickup and delivery options.

“Black Friday has evolved over the years from a single day to an entire season and is without a doubt the most anticipated shopping event of the year,” Charles Redfield, EVP and CMO for Walmart U.S., said in a press release. “Our customers are counting on us more than ever to help them find the season’s best gifts while delivering incredible savings like only Walmart can.”

To Redfield’s point, 73% of shoppers expect higher prices this year due to inflation, Deloitte findsAs inflation keeps spending flat, it’s both the reason consumers will spend more (51%) and less (66%) this season. To maximize budgets, shoppers plan to purchase fewer gifts in 2022 (nine gifts vs. 16 last year). However, retail executives are more optimistic: 77% expect holiday sales to increase year-over-year.

“Looking for ways to outsmart inflation, non-gift purchases are being reined in to keep the traditions of gift-giving and socializing alive,” the study’s authors write. “Consumers also plan to purchase fewer gifts while shifting more of their budget to gift cards. As a result, shopping will get wrapped up in a much shorter window.”

If a shortened window of opportunity for retailers may be afoot, Amazon’s new two-day Prime Early Access Sale October 11-12 helped many shoppers chip away at their holiday lists early. A survey from Blue Yonderof over 1,000 consumers who participated in the added promotion event found 40% of shoppers will shop less on Black Friday this year because of the additional Prime Day (17% will shop significantly less and 23% will shop slightly less on Black Friday). 

[Learn more: Shoppers Prioritize Essentials, Smaller-Ticket Items at Amazon Early Access Prime Day]

Preparation Tips for Retailers


To ease retailers' stress, Searchspring created a checklist of last-minute tasks heading into Black Friday:

1.     Shop your own site – While it’s too late to perform a full site audit, this is an effective alternative to identify areas you can still optimize.

2.     Check in with vendors – Check in with your vendors to confirm they are prepared to handle a spike in traffic and identify ways you can get your site back online quickly should an issue arise.

3.     Prepare all internal teams – Make sure every team is ready for the big day. This includes IT, customer service, HR, marketing and more.

4.     Review information pages – The holidays draw new shoppers to your site so return policies, shipping fees, FAQ pages and other key information must be easy to find and up-to-date.



Bucking the Black Friday Trend

Meanwhile, while retailers compete to attract shoppers with sales on ⁠— or at least in the name of ⁠— Black Friday, one retailer is bucking the trend altogether. Outdoor specialty retailer REI Co-op announced it will be closed on Black Friday for good.

“For this Black Friday, and every Black Friday in the future, the co-op will forgo profits and sales at all locations, and instead pay its more than 16,000 employees to enjoy time outside,” it said in a press release.

Since 2015, REI has closed its doors on Black Friday — inviting employees to spend time outside. Over the years, Opt Outside has evolved from a response against consumerism to a movement that has advocated for causes important to the co-op, it said.

The move stretches outside the retail store walls as well. The now permanent employee benefit extends across the organization: all stores, distribution centers, activity centers, call centers, and headquarters will close every Black Friday. While customers can still place an order on during Black Friday, order processing and fulfillment will not begin until the following day.

“Opt Outside has always been about prioritizing the experience of our employees — choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales,” Eric Artz, president and CEO, REI Co-op, said in a press release. “When we first introduced this movement, it was considered revolutionary for a retail brand, but we felt it was the right thing to do for our members and employees. Making Opt Outside an annual observance will serve as a yearly reminder of this commitment to doing the right thing for the co-op community.”