Has the UK reached peak Black Friday?

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Black Friday, which falls on November 23rd this year, could be showing signs of losing its pre-Christmas sparkle.


B&Q is the first major retailer in 2018 to announce publicly they are giving Black Friday a miss this year. B&Q’s rejection of the often frenzied US shopping event, which traditionally falls on the day after Thanksgiving, is based on their own research which found that nearly half of shoppers weren’t planning to make any Black Friday purchases this year.


And yet Amazon has announced that its own Black Friday deals will run for longer than ever in 2018. It plans to start the event on November 16, a full week ahead of the official date. This year it will run for a full 10 days. Retail Gazette, however, reports that Amazon’s ‘crown jewel’ is becoming less and less appealing. Not just to consumers but to retailers, too.


So has Black Friday burnt out in the UK? We asked retail consultant and Stationery Matters columnist Rebecca Saunders to explain what we can expect to see this year and next for the US shopping event.


“I think we have reached ‘peak’ Black Friday in the UK, although it is definitely here to stay. This year, I received my first email on the topic a full three weeks in advance and although the day is still a week away, the marketing messages are now coming thick and fast.


“In fact, I think that for 2019 we are likely to see an increased focus on Black Friday online, given shoppers may try to avoid busy high streets on the day itself.


“The bigger picture is that anxious retailers - struggling to hold their nerves (and prices) based on recent trading performance - combined with increasingly savvy customers, will lead to a high level of discounting not just for Black Friday but on an ongoing basis between now and Christmas,” Rebecca concludes.


The fact that Black Friday is often a loss leader for retailers means that many feel obliged to take part, fearing their customers will abandon them over the crucial Christmas period if they don’t. With margins being squeezed ever tighter, those retailers that do partake are now unable to offer the kind of amazing deals which initially made Black Friday such a pull for shoppers. B&Q has stuck its head above the parapet in its rejection of the event. There must be many more retailers wishing they, too, could duck out.


Are you a stationery retailer who has decided to shun Black Friday in 2018? Get in touch and tell us why.








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