What is Black Friday All About?

Millenials and retail market

At some point near the end of the year you will hear the expression Black Friday or Cyber Monday but what is it and how is it impacting on the way we shop?

Black Friday originated in the USA and is the day following Thanksgiving Day (which is the 4th Thursday of November). This is identified as the day that Christmas shopping really gets underway so to prompt shoppers to start shopping promotional sales were offered. This moved to in-store and online offers and has been the busiest shopping day of the year in the USA since 2005. Cyber Monday was introduced in the US in 2005 and takes place on the Monday after Black Friday.

The idea behind Cyber Monday was to provide online retailers with an alternative to Black Friday, which typically took place with offers in-store. At the time of Cyber Monday’s inception, most shoppers were still shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers, there was felt a need to persuade customers to shop online.

It is called Black Friday because it refers to retailers going out of the red and into the black, red indicated a loss and black a profit.

Black Friday 2013 was the first time that UK shoppers had the promotional discounts and offers given to them from retailers all on one day. Amazon, John Lewis and Asda (owned by Walmart) offered flash sales and offered their customers bargains at very low prices and one off deals. This continued to grow with £6,000 per second being spent in 2014 in the UK. In 2015 UK online sales on Black Friday were £1.1 billion (up 35% year on year) with the whole Cyber weekend bringing in over £3 billion. In 2017 spend increased even further to £4.5 billion and in 2018 spending went up to £4.8 billion so 2019 has very high expectations as the Cyber Weekend falls later and coincides with paydays across the UK.

As retailers realised by offering discounted prices they could get existing and potential customers to spend their money with them rather than their competitors more and more retailers offered Black Friday deals and discounts. Some retailers even offered loss leaders – this is when a product is sold so low that they cannot make a profit on it but if the customer makes other purchases they would get profit from the other items.

In the UK most of the revenue for retailers is generated online because in the USA a lot of employers allow the day after Thanksgiving to be a day’s holiday for their employees so they have the opportunity to go in-store to shop.

We are shopping more online to ensure we grab those bargains and if retailers do not have fully functioning online platforms or the relevant mobile applications for their customers their customers could go elsewhere.

The trends shows that UK consumers are more aware than ever of the benefits of waiting for sales periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to grab the best discounts on electronics and other items.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are here in the UK and Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 (Friday 29th November 2019 and Monday 2nd December) is expected to top 2018 with even more retailers offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Happy shopping and I hope you bag a few bargains.