Black Friday – Look Black in Anger?

We all know that Black Friday is a way of getting people to part with their money and to extend the ‘Holiday Season’ spending. It is now almost of mythical status in the shopping year and folk have forgotten what it means and where it came from, if they ever knew in the first place.

Imported from the US, it dates way back to special offers in the American shops, the day after their Thanksgiving Day, to lure punters into spending money whilst they had a holiday and their accounts were in the ‘black’, before the Christmas onslaught got underway. Retailers know that if you can extend the buying period, you’ll more than likely increase overall sales. Good retail marketing theory.

But in reality have we all started seeing it as just the retail ploy that it is?

This year, reports show that some high street retailers had more staff on the day than they had customers – the rush did not quite happen. A Black Friday indeed, more like Blank Friday as some have called it. For example, some Tesco Extra stores had barriers and security – the only thing missing were the crowds.

Online, of course, the picture was different with a lot of activity, but overall the increase in spending was much smaller than expected. Online, deals can be had all year round, so there is no real reason to spend on an artificially chosen day and when most of the bargains end up in landfill, apparently (£200m worth of stuff!).

Which even, published a report earlier this month suggesting that Black Friday shoppers chase a false ‘bargain high’, buying products they don’t really need at prices that are not as heavily discounted as they think.

Black Friday seems to be running out of steam and after the scuffles in the past, shoppers and retailers are not so in love with the concept.

It is all a bit crazy. Imagine if in France, they had introduced a retail discount day to celebrate Bastille Day – and we copied it with a ‘Storm the Stores Saturday’ for what would seem to be a random day in July!

Worth a try?

Or we could just be honest and rename Black Friday as ‘Kick-start Xmas’ – we could buy into that, couldn’t we?

Neil Thomas
December 2016

Published on Dec 02, 2016 by Neil Thomas