(Photo from : Queit.com)
With the arrival of the German markets, depressingly more hours of darkness and those dreaded heating bills, we might aswell accept that the famously bitter winter of Leeds is fast approaching and so too is the consumer chaos in the run up to Christmas we call Black Friday.
In case you didn’t know, today the last Friday of November, is when a crazed army of discount-loving offer-driven shopaholics take to our high streets in a bid to get the best deals on Christmas goods. With the expansion of online retailing and technological communication, many companies have also sought to extend the tradition into a more modern manifestation called ‘Cyber Monday.’
So where does it come from?
The origins of Black Friday lend itself to thanksgiving in America. This holiday expressing gratitude to God officially kicks off the holiday season in the US, encouraging consumers to hit the shops and spend big the following day, the 25th November. The concept behind the term ‘black’ comes from how this trend helped stores that were previously experiencing loss of revenue (so in the red) become more profitable (moving into the black.) Although founded in the US, British bargain hunters collectively spent around £2billion last year in in the 24-hour period with the internet retailer Amazon selling 86 items per second!
So, is this all just an advertising gimmick or is there actually opportunity for huge savings?
Almost every retailer today is expected to make cuts from big supermarket brands such as Asda to mobile phone companies like Samsung. In 2015, Hot UK Deals claimed the biggest cuts were in electrical devices such as televisions and laptops down by 31%, baby and children’s products down by 50%, and food at 46%. But when looking at the picture from an annual perspective, it doesn’t appear too significant when retailers typically have 10-15% of stock on sale all year round.
At the end of the day, retailers are clever capitalists and wouldn’t ever reduce prices and profit unless they could afford to. Therefore, they tend to use the low footfall period immediately before Black Friday to increase prices for a monthly period. Then suddenly they can afford to ‘artificially’ drop them ready for Black Friday leaving customers amazed at the incredible discount rate.
There is also a darker side to Black Friday. Some online clothing warehouses resell their faulty items at the discounted prices and in the UK, there has been a development of scamming websites taking advantage of less savvy internet users.
Nevertheless, figures collated by Nationwide predict a growing popularity with a 47% increase in spending compared to any other Friday. Therefore, this Friday, be careful with your money and get clued up about the sales because Black Friday is set to stay.
By Zoe Allison