What is the Future for Black Friday in the UK?

November 2016

This week, the general public will be swamped with television adverts, billboards, and email marketing from high street and online retailers offering fantastic deals on their products. That’s right – the end of this working week will ring in Black Friday, the cut-price USA shopping holiday that was first introduced to the UK in 2010 by Amazon.

But with 48% of UK shoppers forecast to have no plan to partake this year, a lot of that advertising might end up going to waste. The shopping holiday has failed to take off at levels seen in across the pond, and popularity has dwindled in recent years – which could be down to consumers now perceiving the event as a marketing gimmick.

To counteract this lack of engagement, retailers are now trying different tactics such as offering special deals for weeks leading up to the main day, and deploying Cyber Monday for bargains online.

But with interest in the holiday declining, how can retailers offer super savings without engaging in Black Friday at all?

An increasingly popular marketing method is to create your very own special sales holiday unique to your business. The benefits of doing this include being able to target customers in ways you know they will respond to, and the option to choose your own date – reducing competition from other retailers.

One example of this is Amazon’s Prime Day, which is held exclusively for their Prime members every July. This one-day-only shopping event advertises better deals than Black Friday, and has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with 60% more products shipped on Prime Day 2016 than in 2015.

Amazon Prime DayAmazon Prime Day

Retailers are also targeting customers with an increasing number of new shopping holidays in the Christmas season, including Small Business Saturday, Sofa Sunday, and Manic Monday. This choice means savvy customers are likely to shop around the different sales, rather than focusing on just one – taking potential revenue away from Black Friday.

In fact, Manic Monday (held in early December) is poised to become as big as Black Friday in the coming years, with over £700 million spent on the day in 2015 – with Black Friday taking a comparable £1.1billion.

Boxing Day salesImage Credit: Mac McCreery

But if retailers don’t fancy holding a shopping event with a funny name, there are always the traditional end of summer and Boxing Day sales that have stood the test of time and continue to bring the crowds in year after year. Customers know that these are the sales where quality items are reduced, with shops like Selfridges and Harrods attracting overnight queues. Plus, the deals found in these more traditional sales are often better than those on Black Friday, too.

Unfortunately for Black Friday, the variety of other sale days could hinder further growth of the holiday in the UK. However, retailers need not worry, as there are plenty of other sales tactics to deploy – and after all, we Brits love to spend money when we think we’re getting a bargain!

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