Black Friday, another American import is becoming increasingly popular in the UK
Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Yet it has nothing to do with Britain’s traditional January and summer sales.
This year, Black Friday falls on Friday 23 November 2018. People all over the world will be buying discounted products as retailers slash prices.
Such is the frenzied excitement over the event that in the past fights over TVs have broken out, queues have stretched far out of shopping centre car parks, and near-riots have unfolded as people desperately try to grab bargains.
Last year, the novelty seemed to be wearing off in Britain, but Black Friday is still a considerable event.
What happens on Black Friday?
Shops reduce prices, offering discounts that are far greater than normal. Usually the sales last for 24 hours, though some retailers extend deals for longer and over the course of the weekend.
Consumers queue for hours on end in the hope of picking up the best buys. There’s a lot of pushing and shoving.
Although Cyber Monday (three days later, so this year it is on 26 November) also takes place – where the focus is on shopping online – Black Friday deals aren’t always restricted to stores.
Shoppers, particularly those in the UK, often prefer to trawl through websites hunting for purchases.
Websites have been known to crash in the past.
Although Black Friday isn’t totally tied to Christmas, there’s definitely an emphasis on getting Christmas purchases in early.
What UK shops take part?
Like Halloween and McDonald’s, Black Friday is another US import.
Amazon is often credited with bringing Black Friday to the UK – it began offering discounts as far back as 2010.
For Amazon, the event is massive, with days of deals and a long series of changing promotions.
Asda, owned by US firm Walmart, began taking part in 2013; it’s only really since 2014/15 that it’s started being a big deal here. These days, all British supermarkets and most big high street retailers offer some deals on Black Friday. John Lewis, Argos, GAME, Curry’s/PC World and major supermarkets get involved.
Last year, Marks and Spencer cancelled its Black Friday offers claiming that it merely ‘sucked sales forward’.
Where does Black Friday come from?
Black Friday originated in America, where consumerism is basically a religion. It traditionally follows the US holiday of Thanksgiving and is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
The story goes that after US stores enduring an entire year of operating at a loss (in the red), they earned a profit thanks to a large-scale shopping spree, which in turn put them back in the black.