Pop up event NYC

The New Black Friday

Published on Nov 21, 2019 by Dan Melwani

How the Pop Up Shopping trend is transforming this infamous shopping day

For years, we have been inundated with wild stories surrounding the infamous post Thanksgiving shopping binge commonly known as “Black Friday” and its relatively newer partner in crime, “Cyber Monday”. Today, these two events have essentially become culturally synonymous with the holiday season. But now with the advent of the pop-up shop trend, especially in large metropolises like NYC, these epic shopping days are undergoing an exciting transformation. 

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving where brick and mortar retail stores will traditionally extend hours and promote extensive deals in order to drive traffic and start the holiday shopping season. However, in general, Black Friday traffic is on the decline. In 2018, the percentage of traffic fell nearly 9%, following a decline of 4% the year proceeding, according to the Wall Street Journal. The cause of this drop can mostly be explained by the rising popularity of its sister holiday Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving where online retailers promote similar deals to encourage increased online shopping. 

However, despite a drop in traffic numbers, the volume generated by Black Friday is still astronomical. In 2016, an estimated 101.7 million shoppers ventured out into the chaos of Black Friday in search of holiday shopping deals. And numbers like this lead to a great window of opportunity for pop up stores and pop up events. 

We often talk at Rawspace about the retail apocalypse, the slow decline of malls and shopping centers happening across the world. However, despite the slow drop in numbers, malls and shopping centers still serve to drive and centralize a great deal of traffic, especially on heightened days such as Black Friday. This allows for pop up shops, events, and performances to center themselves in a way that takes advantage of Black Friday’s spike in foot traffic. While millions flood into the giant superstores, pop-up shops are able to coast off the increased exposure to not only sell product but almost more importantly- build brand awareness and enthusiasm. It’s a marketers dream, millions of people centralized and localized in one space. 

FILA pop up event NYC

Even for retailers who have elected to house their operations mostly on the internet, the opportunity of a pop-up shop allows them to attach their brand to a physical space, even if only for a small amount of time. This allows the consumer to identify their brand as a living breathing organism rather than a formless entity only existing online. It also allows the retailer to reap the benefits of a physical space only at the times when traffic is highest, freeing them from the responsibilities and cost of long term tenure. It’s a true reflection of what is so exciting about the modern age of pop up shopping; flexibility, modernity, and spontaneity. 

To put it lightly, Black Friday is certainly one of the craziest, most manic, and anxiety-inducing parts of the holiday season. As always, you can be sure that this November 29th- you’ll be seeing some wild Black Friday stories plastered all over the news. But despite the mania, Black Friday really is transforming into an event that is embracing, supporting, and even enhancing the modern trend of pop up shopping. In a world that is increasingly centering itself towards online connectivity, Black Friday is an amazing moment to celebrate the physical nature and tradition of brick and mortar shopping, the opportunity to discover new brands and ideas, and the space to embrace the spontaneity of the pop-up shop phenomenon. 

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