Black Friday: Marketing Hype Or Bargain Hunter’s Dream?

Unless you’ve hidden yourself in an internet free zone (in which case, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever read this) then you’ll know what day it is. Adverts have been popping up on my phone all week, emails are pinging into my inbox at an impressively terrifying rate, my credit cards are cowering in the corner… that’s right, Black Friday is here. But in amongst all the hype, is it everything it’s cracked up to be?

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is a modern tradition that has made it’s way to the UK from the United States over recent years. In the US, Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, the last Friday in November and the day that companies offer huge sales in order to entice pre-Christmas shopping over the holiday weekend. The name ‘Black Friday’ comes from the fact that it’s rumoured to be the day that company bank accounts go into the black for the first time (ie. the first time they make a profit) following a traditionally red, or loss making, summer.

But we’re not American!

Considering the fact that Thanksgiving is very much an American holiday, Black Friday has still taken hold of the UK and continues to grow in popularity with UK shoppers and organisations alike. For many businesses it marks the start of the Christmas shopping and has been credited with bringing the shopping season further forward in the year. In the UK, we’ve also seen the rise of a less-well known day, Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday follows Black Friday and is traditionally the day when internet retailers see their highest peak in web traffic and sales… it seems Black Friday kicks our shopping gears into action!

Is it worth the hype?

All retailers handle Black Friday differently. Some kickstart offers and promotions the week before, others purely for Black Friday itself or the weekend whilst others choose not to partake. There’s some resistance to Black Friday by society and the feeling that it’s a hype from large retailers that damages smaller organisations, particularly as it’s so heavily promoted. Last year, Fatface took advantage of this to promote that they weren’t taking part in Black Friday and instead would be donating a large sum of money to charity – an interesting concept which supported great causes and still managed to generate strong positive PR without reducing prices or directly benefiting the customer. As someone with a marketing background, it’s refreshing to see large organisations use the event in a way which offers positives to all involved!

In amongst that there are still savings to be had. Some companies, such as Apple, utilise Black Friday as the only time in their calendar that they offer promotions on their products. Likewise, Amazon offer significant savings using their lightning deals tool.

My thoughts

To me, Black Friday is a great example of a holiday created by businesses to drive sales. Research has shown that the offers we see are often manipulated. Whether that’s price increases in the period prior to Black Friday in order to allow substantial ‘savings’ to be marketed, or that prices are often reduced further at a later date. It shows that a large amount of Black Friday’s success is down to clever marketing and creating a mentality in shoppers that they must buy it now.

Despite me knowing this, I’m still drawn in to Black Friday and the savings it offers. It’s become a day in my calendar which marks the start of shopping and the beginning of the Christmas period. Already today I’ve been searching for Argos voucher codes for my mountain of toy shopping and browsing the offers at many of the major retailers to see what’s available. I’ve a list of items I want to get and am hoping to find a voucher code for Debenhams as well to increase my savings there. Finally, I’ve been lusting over a new laptop for months and Apple’s one day sale may just push me into hitting the buy button.

Black Friday. Sure, it’s one big marketing hype but in amongst the madness there can be some real gems. The key is keeping your calm, not getting sucked in and doing a bit of shopping around. Good luck!

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This is a collaborative post.

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