The Business Of Black Friday

Shutterstock / Jason Winter © black friday

Today is Black Friday, a yearly event when retailers all over the world supposedly offer large discounts, and shopping frenzies ensue.

The term originated in the US, initially used to describe the increase in high street bargain hunting the day after Thanksgiving. Eventually, retailers would begin to entice customers in with bigger and better deals.

Although plenty of shops in the UK tried to emulate the success of the event over the years, it wasn’t until online shopping became popular that Black Friday really took off

And boy, did it take off.

Thanks to the wide variety of products available, and the convenience of “one-click” ordering, surges in traffic have often crashed websites — including giants like Amazon, eBay and Debenhams.

Meanwhile, horror stories about fisticuffs in the electronics aisle rival even the infamous Buzz Lightyear “toy rage” of Christmas 1996.

According to the Guardian, shoppers are expected to spend almost £9.2bn this weekend. In the same article, a representative from John Lewis predicted a return to 2019 sales levels, split 70/30 between online and in store.

This certainly sounds like good news, especially after the coronavirus pandemic had such a devastating effect on the retail sector.

It depends where you look

But is Black Friday what is seems?

Well, the answer is . . . it depends where you look.

This year, a study by consumer watchdog Which? has revealed that more than 90% of Black Friday deals were the same price or cheaper in the six months before the sales event last year.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute is keen to make sure shoppers avoid scams. For example, they pointed out to the BBC that some outlets may raise their prices before Black Friday, just to lower them again to give the impression there’s a bargain to be had.

So it’s more important than ever to do a little research before you log on/hit the streets.

Make sure you know what you want, and where to get it — and that it’s really a good price. Otherwise you could find yourself out of pocket.

The “good” thing is, with Black Friday now last for four days, there’s plenty of time to look around.

Click here to read our tips on staying safe when buying online.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.