It was only a matter of time until retailers started cashing in on the success of the typical "Christmas in July" promotions. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday relegated to just one weekend in November, there was no way to take advantage of that buzz during the other 51 weeks of the year — until recently.
For the past few years, stores have been rolling out Black Friday promotions in the summertime, and this year, the holiday creep includes Cyber Monday, too. These sales capitalize on the hype associated with these two shopping holidays in order to convey that this mid-summer sale is "as good as" Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But are the sales actually that good? And what stores are turning to this form of marketing the most? We dug in to take a deeper look.
This year's "Black Friday in July" included promotions from Target and Best Buy; even Petco got in on the action! Last year we only listed on such sale from Target, but this summer the store tripled that figure, offering a Black Friday-themed promotion three weeks in a row.
July and August also saw the first of what’s likely to be many more Cyber Monday promotions. Sears offered discounts on appliances, automotive, and tools; Best Buy featured deals on laptops and TVs; and Walmart’s savings event was one Monday only, featuring deals on back-to-school items a little later than the others. (The megastore actually rolled out a similar Cyber Monday-themed sale in 2013 too, but this year Walmart offered it a week earlier.)
Though Black Friday in summer has only been celebrated by a small handful of retailers this year – and Cyber Monday an even smaller handful — we expect to see more of these promotions rolled out in the weeks (and years) to come. As of right now, it offers stores a chance to use the Black Friday branding without competitive noise from all every other store that's pushing such sales around Thanksgiving. Plus, with no major holidays between the 4th of July and Labor Day, hosting these sales events offers brands a hook to get customers into their brick-and-mortar as well as online stores.
Though the July and August sales were labeled as Black Friday events, they didn’t feature the same doorbusters and deep discounts one would typically see in November. These deals are typically the same summer clearance sales and promotions one sees every year, just re-branded as major shopping events. Some highlights:
- Petco’s Black Friday in July promotion featured 30% off and free shipping on orders over $75, excluding a long list of other items.
- Target offered weekly sales on select items for the entire month, including $11 off a Mr. Coffee Single Serve Coffee Brewer, $13 off a Room Essentials 5-Head Floor Lamp, and $2 off a C9 by Champion Men's Stripe Golf Polo.
- Best Buy discounted the Panasonic 39" 1080p LED LCD HDTV by $20.
- Sears offered up to 25% off grills with free shipping.
- Walmart’s Cyber Monday promotion included 49% off the HP Deskjet 1512 Inkjet All-in-One Printer ($24) and 20% off a Dell Moon Silver 15.6" Inspiron Laptop.
These are all great deals, but none of them would be featured on the front page of a Black Friday flyer. If you look at the current sales by other retailers, you'll find savings comparable to those having regular old summer promotions, like Kohl’s (60% to 80% off summer clearance items through August 6), and Macy's (home sale, 20-50% off select items with an additional 15% off through 8/6).
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday don't mean the same thing in the summertime as they do during the holiday shopping season, these summer sales events are popular. And as more retailers join the fray in the coming years, the competition will heat up and the deals are bound to get even sweeter. In the meantime, we all love a sale, so who cares what they call it?
Did you participate in any Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales this summer, readers? Do you think it's a good idea, or are retailers trying too hard? Let us know in the comments below.
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