18th November 2015
Black Friday is almost upon us. The shopping craze is now just around the corner with the promise of unmissable offers, deals and sales. Last year saw record profits for numerous big brand retailers and current trends suggest those records are due to be broken on Friday 27th November.
The American tradition of Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving which falls on the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgivings Day parades would often feature Santa Claus at the end, signalling that Christmas was approaching and the beginning of the shopping season.
The term ‘Black Friday’ originates back 50 years ago to Philadelphia where it was used to describe the hectic streets full of spectators on the way to the Army v. Navy football game, as well as the many more people shopping for Christmas gifts.
The term ‘Black Friday’ could have also originated from how American retailers recorded their accounts. For most of the year stores would be operating on a loss, recorded in red ink; Black Friday would be the first day of profit, thus it would be written in black ink.
Black Friday has been promoted in the UK for a number of years mainly through online retailers like Amazon. But it was ASDA, which popularized the American tradition in 2013, with the campaign ‘Walmart’s Black Friday by ASDA.’
The concept was quickly adopted by other UK companies and consumers were eager to partake in the discounts. UK shoppers spent an estimated £810m online last year, which secured the US tradition as the biggest online shopping day here in the UK.
John Lewis was one of the most successful companies from as they recorded revenues of £179m in the week of Black Friday last year, the highest levels in its 150 year history. Argos also profited from the event but lost out to many online sales as 660,000 within an hour caused their site to crash. To tackle the issue Argos is urging customers to pre-register to the site in anticipation of the price slashes.
This year’s Black Friday is expected to beat records broken last year. An average of £9,375 was spent every second last year; this year it is expected to rise to £12,384, a total of £1.06bn. Google searches for ‘Black Friday’ this October have already eclipsed searches from last year, showing shoppers appetites for sales (Red = 2014, Blue = 2015).
It appears that retailers are also more than ready to meet the demand as retailers stock up on notebooks in the final week of October.
“This is the highest ever spike we’ve seen in notebook shipments and indicates some great deals for savvy shoppers looking for an upgrade or a great Christmas present.” Adam Simon, Context.
Discounts and offers aside there is also sentiment among many that the day of frenzied spending is unwelcome Americanisation. Thanksgiving is not a holiday celebrated here, yet retailers are using the following day as an excuse to get the customers through the door.
Black Friday has also received its share of negative press. The event has been widely criticised in the US for many years for the level of violence it brought out of shoppers, especially in 2008 when one Walmart employee was trampled to death. Scenes of frantic shoppers have begun to echo over here in the UK, for example the Greater Manchester Police were required to subdue a crowd of hysterical shoppers at ASDA last year.
Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland even presented a motion to the Commons at the beginning of the year to criticise retailers to participate in the sales event, most notably Jeremy Corbyn is listed as supporting it.
Love it or hate it, the success that retailers have enjoyed from the past couple of years appears that for now Black Friday in the UK is here to stay. There are few who could miss out on the opportunity to purchase some discount gifts, especially with the ease of online shopping.
Speak to one of Call Wiser’s friendly and experienced brokers today who will find you the cover that you need to protect your belongings this Christmas. Ensure that you have the best home insurance to cover your contents.
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