Black Friday: The Good, The Bad and The Greedy

Black Friday

Black Friday is a relatively new concept, only being introduced properly into the UK in 2010. But already, it’s successfully built up the reputation of being that one day of the year where it is acceptable for shoppers to fight it out to the death to fulfil and satisfy their consumerist cravings…

Black Friday

Black Friday Chaos

Since 2006, there has been a total of 102 injuries and 9 deaths caused by the mayhem that is Black Friday.  Check out this site to see all of the most recent updates and figures. Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving in America is a day where retailers would cut back their prices to encourage more people to get out and shop. It’s transition over to the UK though, for those who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, is just an excuse for retailers to have  a massive influx of sales by carrying out various deals and promotions.

This chance for bargain hunters to save money can drive people towards crazy behaviours.

This year, however, the rise of technology and internet shopping has meant that savvy shoppers no longer ventured out to face the feuds. Instead these bargain hunters did their sale surfing online. UK stores of Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s pushed back their opening hours to 5am instead of 6am after last year’s rush caused the police to be called. Due to the cold weather forecast, the rise in internet shopping and the increased length of promotions, some of the expectant crowds were non-existent.

Empty queue for anticipated Black Friday madness. Photo credit Peter Byrne

Empty queue for anticipated Black Friday madness. Photo credit Peter Byrne

Retailers still managed to rev up their sales though through the huge increase of online promotions:

  • Argos reported that between 12am – 1am Black Friday morning, there were 500,000 visits on the website, up 50% than last year.
  • Large volumes of website traffic caused glitches to Currys PC World and Tesco sites.
  • Sales made through mobile phones were up a fifth between the hours of 8am and 9am with commuters spending on their way to work.
  • John Lewis reported sales of their Sonos Play1 Wireless Speakers once every 10 seconds.
  • Nationwide bank account holders made 40% more transactions online than they did last year.

(Guardian 2016)

It is clear that the impact of Brexit hasn’t affected the consumer confidence in spending. So many people are still willing to part with their pennies to grab the latest releases. Is it necessary to twist a season associated with spreading joy and love towards further consumerist and greedy behaviour? Or is it all justified in the purchase of a once-in-a-lifetime bargain and that bag we never thought we’d be able to have?