Black Friday Is Dead. Ready For Black Thursday (And Wednesday)? Advertising Expert Tim Burt Explains

Black Friday – As You Know It – Is Dead

After visiting 5 malls in 6 hours on Black Friday, here’s who didn’t show up:

Black Friday 2014 Macys - empty checkout station.

Black Friday 2014 Macy’s @ 5:30 a.m.

Where is everyone? Home sleeping.

Macy’s @ St Louis Galleria, approximately 6:15 a.m. Where is everyone? Home sleeping.

Empty aisles on Black Friday 2014 at St. Louis West County Center

Main thoroughfare on Black Friday 2014 at St. Louis West County Center. Approximately 5:30 a.m.

Microsoft Store St Louis Galleria Black Friday 2014

More staff than patrons at the Microsoft Store in the St Louis Galleria on Black Friday 2014. Approximately 6:30 a.m.

In prior years, you couldn’t walk 5 feet without bumping into 10 people. Now…it’s like a Sunday morning right after they opened.

Don’t Get Me Wrong…

The deals will still be crazy on Thanksgiving weekend for years to come. Consumers will simply be able to get them sooner, and online.

Seeing empty parking lots at the malls when they should be packed led me to some startling realizations…


  • Within 4-6 years (or less), most major U.S. retailers will remain open on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The only time they will close will be Wednesday evening (briefly) to prepare for the “Black Thursday”crowds.
  • The busiest night in the U.S. at bars (the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving) will suffer a noticeable traffic decline because of the shopping frenzy starting earlier. 

I witnessed (essentially) the death of a retail tradition on Friday. Here’s why I say this:

  • “People won’t shop on Thanksgiving night” (as I’ve heard) is a myth.
  • More consumers are buying online because retailers are offering the same deals.
  • Because people are looking for an escape from their families that night.

Thanksgiving Night Sales By The Numbers

Here are some “Black Thursday” stats to support my predictions and observations:

  • 22 million people were at Walmart stores between 6-10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. That’s more than visit Disneyland in a year
  • Walmart counted 10,000,000 cash register transactions during that 4-hour span.
  • Target – per minute – was selling an average of  1,800 televisions, and 2,000 video games.

There are more numbers here if you care to see them.

Fights Over T.V’s, Underwear, and T.V.’s

*Warning: strong language in the links*

If you haven’t seen the craziness you can watch some of the NSFW YouTube videos from the United States here.

BONUS! Even Britain got in on the Black-whenever madness. Click here.


Just like the line in “Field Of Dreams” – “if you build it they will come” – then if you make it worth their effort, consumers will show up regardless of the day/time.

What was a truly American event has now shifted online, and to a holiday. It breaks my heart.

Be fully prepared to add “Black Thursday” and (probably very soon) “Black Wednesday” to your lexicon in the near future.

Tim Burt 


About timburtmedia

30,000+ ads globally. Commercial Advertising Marketing - world-wide audio producer, voice-over talent, copywriter.
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