Black Friday, always the day after Thanksgiving, is a day that instils excitement in all American shoppers and leaves retailers pitting against each other to offer the best deals and draw the biggest crowds. It typically marks the start of Christmas shopping in the US and the vast majority of retailers get involved with substantial money off deals. Having been in New York City during Black Friday, we can confirm just how much of a frenzy it creates.
To many in the UK, however, it doesn’t quite hold the same draw. Yet. That could be about to change as a Visa Europe forecast predicts that this year more than £1m will be spent every three minutes on its cards this Black Friday, which falls on 28th November. What’s more, a survey by eDigitalResearch and IORMA has shown 72% of consumers have now heard and expects it to be the most successful Black Friday in the UK yet.
Its success in the UK in the past few years has been relatively mediocre, mostly driven by Amazon, John Lewis and Asda (owned by US retail giant Walmart). However, this year additional retailers have stepped up to the post to offer discounts including Dixons, Very, Currys, Argos, The Original Factory Shop and Sainsbury’s have announced their involvement with surely more to follow.
Whether it will ever be as big in the UK as it is in the US still remains to be seen. For starters we don’t have Thanksgiving, which the day is linked to. Though Halloween, typically an American tradition, is now the UK’s second largest retail event after Christmas which shows we are open to getting on board with US traditions.
What Black Friday does offer for retailers is a chance to launch shoppers’ Christmas shopping with incentives and offers. In fact, consumer research by Asda has revealed people’s spending intentions are currently running three weeks behind last year due to the unseasonable warm weather throughout autumn, so there’s a good chance retailers are hoping Black Friday will be the kick up the proverbial that shoppers need to start their Christmas shopping. Will we see more in store offers this year, as opposed to online only deals, to help push people to bricks and mortar shops?