Black Friday – divisions appear in UK

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Some thoughts from Paul Mc, MIA…

I wrote an article this time last year questioning the validity of Black Friday in the UK (Black Friday – smoke and mirrors?)

Well, here we are one year on, with the event kicking off on or around Friday 23rd November. I say “kicking off” because Amazon have just announced that they will run the event for a full 10 days this year, starting on the 16th!

What is evident, however, is that a number of both retailers and consumers are starting to question the validity of the event. It was interesting to see that B & Q have just joined the list of shops shunning the event.

This year will additionally be subject to consumer uncertainty with the close proximity to Brexit (under 130 days to go!)

Consumers have clearly been given food for thought as to the true nature of the “deals” surrounding the event and Which? published data showing that over 50% of the Black Friday deals in 2017 could be found cheaper at the same retailers at different times of the year!

Having said all of that, there is no denying the relative success of the event for the online shopping community where sales grew last year by nearly 12% (with so-called Cyber Monday taking place on 26th November).

But, even then… real sales growth or simply moving existing sales into different parts of the calendar… and at reduced margin?

I think the consumer is going to ultimately decide if this event is an essential part of their shopping year or just a fad that gets found out?

I would welcome any thoughts from our industry, good or bad about this event, please let me know at paulmc@mia.org.uk