Do UK customers care about Black Friday?

It’s always wise to be sceptical of a bargain, especially when any sense of urgency is applied to the offer. If a sales person offers you a deal that expires before you have time to give it proper consideration, the sensible choice is to walk away.


For this reason, many people are rightly suspicious of the Black Friday offers that have become such a fixture of retailing in recent years. The ‘grab it while you can’ promotions may shout loud, but it is only prudent to question how much of a bargain they really represent.


For many UK shoppers there is also a distinct sense that Black Friday is an imported tradition that has no real relevance for us. The day is traditionally the first Friday after Thanksgiving, a US festival that is simply not a thing here.


The Guardian: “Black Friday not the cheapest time to shop, says consumer group.”


Are we right to be suspicious? It seems we are. According to research by consumer group Which? those of us who have resisted the Black Friday hyperbole were correct in our assumptions that the bargains are not as good as they appear.


In analysing deals on offer last year, the group found that 98% of the discounted products highlighted on Black Friday were available for the same, or even lower, prices at some point in the six months before or after the sale. Of more than 200 Black Friday deals checked, only five were genuinely at their lowest price on that day.


Big name retailers including Amazon, Argos and Currys were involved in the study. It found that three quarters of the Black Friday offers at Argos were available at lower prices at other times of the year.


Most of us have seen online footage of US crowds running amok to grab sale bargains. Perhaps it is a peculiarity of the UK that there are guides to retailers which are not running Black Friday promotions, so shoppers can avoid crowds of noisy bargain hunters.


The Sun: “NO DEAL Full list of retailers NOT doing Black Friday revealed including Primark, B&M and TK Maxx.”


And there are warnings that some people are so keen to find a bargain that they are falling prey to online scammers who offer deals that really are too good to be true.


Independent: “Warning over eight most scammed items ahead of Black Friday.”


Given all these factors, is it any wonder that UK interest in the concept of Black Friday is waning? Many shoppers are so tired of Christmas promotions that another event in the meantime is too much to process.


According to research from PWC, UK spending on Black Friday promotions this year is expected to be 25% below last year’s figures. There has been a marked drop in interest in the event, with only 16% of people expressing a definite intention to buy something.


The greatest interest is shown by those customers with the least spending power, while those older consumers with a greater disposable income show less interest in buying more stuff.


Perhaps Black Friday is an import that might better be left to quietly wither.