'This year’s Black Friday event will be a bellwether to judge shoppers’ reactions to the cost-of-living crisis'
Ahead of this year’s Black Friday, our Associate Professor in Retail Marketing, Jonathan Reynolds, shares some valuable insight into one of the year's biggest retail days
What are the pros and cons of Black Friday from the view point of consumers, small retailers and economies?
For consumers: judicious shopping around can still provide some bargains
For retailers: as always, spending on Black Friday at a discount risks trading off full price sales that could have been made nearer Christmas
For small retailers: their profit margins are generally slim. Whilst tempted to participate in Black Friday offers, small retailers need to be sure their discounting is affordable
For economies: This year’s Black Friday event will be a bellwether to judge shoppers’ reactions to the cost-of-living crisis
There are those who protest against the consumerism of days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and declare it as the 'Buy Nothing Day'. What are your thoughts on it?
These are important social movements and serve to remind shoppers that they do have a choice over whether or not to spend on discretionary items.
One of the criticisms is the impact on the environment. Is there a link between shopping on such days and sustainability as it is claimed it leads to waste due to the number of discarded products, soon after they are bought on such days?
I’ve not seen much evidence on this point either way.
Is there any issue of overconsumption on such days, especially given the current economic circumstances and difficulties?
Yes, of course, it could be considered inappropriate to encourage unnecessary or discretionary consumption when in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. At the same time, many people find selective shopping pleasurable and a treat as a counter to the gloomy economic news.
China has a similar ‘Singles’ Day'. Its e-commerce giants, Alibaba and JD, kept silent on their sales totals this year. Is that a sign of global economic difficulties? Are this year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day Sales likely to struggle with sales?
Yes to both questions. Singles Day revenues were under pressure in 2021 and it is certain the COVID policies of the Chinese government and changes in consumers’ confidence will have further suppressed sales. It is quite likely the cost-of-living crisis will affect spending levels in 2022 in other markets where Black Friday has been practiced.