Retail Expert: Black Friday Will See a More Leisurely Start This Year

Deborah Fowler, interim associate chair of Hospitality and Retail Management at Texas Tech University, has tracked retail trends for years, and is the author of “Retail Category Management,” which focuses on the nature of retail processes and concepts.

Black Friday, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, is getting a decidedly more family-friendly feel this year, thanks to retailers.

Many stores are opting not to open on Thanksgiving Day. On Friday (Nov. 24), in contrast to the pre-dawn door-busting battle for the best deal, more shoppers this year will get a later start and do most of their shopping online, said Deborah Fowler, interim associate chair of Hospitality and Retail Management at Texas Tech University.

Fowler, who has tracked retail trends for years, is the author of “Retail Category Management,” which focuses on the nature of retail processes and concepts. She has partnered with a variety of major companies, including teaching a class on retail trends as well as a course that allows graduate students to analyze and present a profit-making plan to a major retailer.

Deborah Fowler

Deborah Fowler


Deborah Fowler, interim associate chair and professor of Hospitality and Retail Management,

Talking points

  • Online shopping topped in-store purchasing last year, and e-commerce is expected to be an even larger percentage of total sales this year.
  • In contrast to years past, many retailers are not opening on Thanksgiving Day, instead giving both customers and employees a holiday with their families.
  • With most retailers sending out their Black Friday ads earlier, consumers have more time to comparison shop – both online and in stores – to get the best deals.
  • Many shoppers will buy all their holiday present at a discount.
  • The best advice for consumers is to make a list and stick to it.


  • “People are not going out at 5 a.m. and shopping. The majority of people leave home around 10 a.m., and they’re looking for a bargain, but they’re also doing it because it’s a family thing.”
  • “Enjoy being with your family. I think that’s what we’re seeing Black Friday becoming, which is a good thing.”
  • “Shopping online is a lot more sophisticated than it once was. You can go through a website, filter for the item you want, and you can compare immediately if it’s a better price than somewhere else.”
  • “One of the interesting things with e-commerce this year is Amazon is not dropping their ad until everybody else does, basically. The second thing they’re doing is, some of the products you can only buy using the Alexa-enabled equipment, like the Dot or the Echo. You can’t use your Alexa app, but they’re specific to Alexa, which I think is fascinating that this whole artificial intelligence portion of e-commerce is moving into retailing this year.”
  • “In the past, all the ads came out Thanksgiving morning, and you had to sit there rifling through them to find the best deals. Well, retailers realized we all look for the best deals, whether it’s online or in the store, we want to compare, and if we don’t find the best deals, it will cost them more money. The way it will cost them more money is when we return it. When we return items, that adds to their labor cost, which is the most expensive part of retailing.” 

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College of Human Sciences

The College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University provides multidisciplinary education, research and service focused on individuals, families and their environments for the purpose of improving and enhancing the human condition.

The college offers a Bachelor of Science degree with disciplines in:

  • Apparel Design and Manufacturing
  • Community, Family, and Addiction Services
  • Early Childhood
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Interior Design
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management
  • Retailing

The college also offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

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