Is Black Friday good for UK retail?
2014 seems to be the year we all heard of Black Friday. For those of you who are still in the dark, it is the US equivalent of the Boxing Day sales, taking place the day after Thanksgiving.
The origins of the name are unclear: some suggest it describes the traffic and other chaos that accompanies the high number of shoppers, others claim it is the day in the financial calendar where retailers go from the red into the black ( or see profit!). Whatever the derivation it is a huge event in the US calendar and one which has found its way to the UK, through many US based retailers such as Asda and Amazon.
Perhaps the UK retailers have embraced Black Friday as it occupies a pivotal place in the pre-Christmas shopping calendar. It is just at that point where most of us are thinking hard about doing our festive buying but many of us have not yet started. The fact that there is a day when there are significant product reductions that coincide with our already guilty conscience of not yet doing our Christmas shopping is a marketer's delight! Previously shoppers have tended to wait to see if any pre-Christmas sales could bag them a bargain. The introduction of Black Friday brings the buying bonanza forward and extends the Christmas shopping period, so necessary for retail success.
But for those of you who prefer to shop online, hold your nerve. Cyber Monday is coming next week which is the busiest online shopping day of the year!
Cathy Barnes is Professor of Retail Innovation and is fascinated by consumer experience. She has researched and published widely on how to build products and experiences that delight consumers.