What Will Low Sales on Black Friday Mean for Giving Tuesday?

Print Share on LinkedIn More


November 30, 2014; Washington Post

Though experts were predicting a healthy uptick in the number of shoppers expected to hit stores and online sites on the four-day weekend that includes Black Friday, spending actually declined from the $57.4 billion spent in 2013 to $50.9 billion in 2014—an 11 percent drop. The number of people shopping dropped by 5.4 percent, and those who did shop were spending less.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper spent $380.95 this year, as compared to $407.02 in 2013. Although the NRF had itself predicted an increase in sales this year over last of 4.1 percent, it worked quickly to spin the results, saying that it figured that the decline was related to early promotions and speculated that the decrease in shopping and spending might reflect a positive attitude, in that consumers were not as worried as they are normally about getting a deal. They also predict that the season as a whole will show increases, and that it may just be Black Friday itself that has run its course.

But the ranks are not unbroken: Walmart and Best Buy do not agree with NRF’s enthusiasm and have kept their own fourth-quarter predictions of increases quite modest.

Of course, there were also a number of actions going on during Black Friday, including “No Justice, No Profit,” an initiative to boycott shopping after no indictment was handed down in Ferguson.

Boycott Black Friday

This effort took off on Twitter among other places, using the hashtags #BlackFridayBlackOut, #BlackFridayProtest and #BoycottBlackFriday. As many readers will remember, boycotts are a traditional tool for civil rights efforts.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-cards=”hidden” lang=”en”><p>&quot;Stand up, don&#39;t shop&quot;: Ferguson protesters target Black Friday shopping &#10; <a href=”http://t.co/6PdzcMI9C6″>http://t.co/6PdzcMI9C6</a> <a href=”http://t.co/wfNvblYG9u”>pic.twitter.com/wfNvblYG9u</a></p>&mdash; NBC News (@NBCNews) <a href=”https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/538520395142684673″>November 29, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Police are mobilizing and arresting <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/blackfridayboycott?src=hash”>#blackfridayboycott</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackLivesMatter?src=hash”>#BlackLivesMatter</a> protestors right now <a href=”http://t.co/GcAmPPm6OO”>pic.twitter.com/GcAmPPm6OO</a></p>&mdash; Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Lukewearechange/status/538428002271780865″>November 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Protesting family-style against Walmart in the Valley. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFridayProtest?src=hash”>#BlackFridayProtest</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalmartStrikers?src=hash”>#WalmartStrikers</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/USAS”>@usas</a> <a href=”http://t.co/JAqUqXn5wF”>pic.twitter.com/JAqUqXn5wF</a></p>&mdash; Hayley Currier (@RogueCompass) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RogueCompass/status/538418868977270784″>November 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>










Walmart workers and their supporters also protested during this holiday weekend, demanding wage increases and greater schedule flexibility. 

Depending on what you think happened to tamp down buying enthusiasm last weekend, we could draw some assumptions about giving this season, as well. In light of all of that, what do we think will happen on Giving Tuesday? At least one enthusiastic fundraiser has forecast that proceeds will double from $27 million to hit $54 million, giving these three reasons why:

3 Reasons Why #GivingTuesday will double this year

  • Carry-over participation from 2013 and “ice bucket afterglow”
  • Search interest for “Giving Tuesday” is twice as high as last year
  • GDP is estimated to increase in 2014

And, in fact, #GT proceeds have doubled two years in a row. We would love to hear from our readers: What are your predictions and feelings about whether this giving holiday is a boon or bane to your fundraising in general?—Ruth McCambridge


  • John Hoffman

    So many organizations are doing Giving Tuesday promotions this year, I can’t imagine that the amount of donations would decrease.

  • Cara Turano

    Giving Tuesday should inspire people to give to provide for a better tomorrow where perhaps there is no need to protest because we have actually solve the underlying social challenges. Now off to promote #GivingTuesday for the Junior League of Atlanta.

  • Lilia

    New blog post from Cause Effective on what to do The Day After #GivingTuesday! For all fundraising professionals and anyone who participated organizationally or personally in the event there is some great insight here on how to cultivate your volunteers and sustain the energy of #GivingTuesday year round: http://causeeffective.org/resources/blog/entry/givingtuesday-the-day-after