Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Some say Black Friday dates back to 1869 when two American speculators created a boom and bust in gold prices. The modern usage goes back to 1966 when a stamp collectors’ magazine published a story about the traffic jams and overcrowding in stores that took place when consumers started their Christmas shop on the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday.
Last year the shopping phenomenon earned US retailers $7.9 billion – 18% up from 2016. Black Friday has only been around in the UK for five years but according to a PWC UK report 50% of UK shoppers plan to shop on Black Friday – online or on the high street – with the average spend up to £200 this year. An amount that could be worth over £5 billion in sales over one weekend! However, not all retailers are happy that this new US import has crossed the Atlantic
Cyber Monday is a term used to describe the Monday following Black Friday. The term was coined by Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman, and made its debut on November 28, 2005 as a way of encouraging people to shop online. Since its inception, it has become an international marketing term used by online retailers across the world.
In the US last year Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record $6.59 billion, compared with $2.98 billion in 2015, and $2.65 billion in 2014.
However, many stores will be offering deals and discounts in the weeks leading up to the big days. It is an internet phenomenon, it’s worth remembering high street retailers still take part, though according to the PWC UK survey the majority of shopping will be done online.
How to get the best deals
As with any shopping preparation is the key. Know exactly what you are shopping for and remember to shop around and research items you want to buy well in advance rather than splashing out on a whim. Make a shopping list of the things you want and will actually use, then search online for them. Don’t forget to look for discount vouchers for any retailers that are selling what you need. It’s also a good idea to check retailer’s returns policies before buying and to check terms and conditions for sites you have not used before. If a store you use frequently has something you want, don’t forget to use your loyalty card, those Tesco points can soon add up if you buy high value items. Check social media, many big companies will promote their offers on social media, either before the day or on Black Friday itself.
Amazon were one of the first UK retailers to use Black Friday promotions, so expect to see offers online well before Friday.
Argos also have offers, so if there is something you need from them it may be worth waiting until Friday.
Currys/PC World will have offers, but don’t forget you may be buying an older model that is marked as heavily discounted from its original selling price and not the price available from other stores.
Boots offer discounts on various items, this is good if you are shopping for perfumes and skincare products for Christmas.
Game and other High Street gaming shops will have offers, you can always check online before you visit the store in person.
Clothing stores will also be involved, but again check online before you visit your local store.
Black Friday can be a shrewd way of getting a bargain on something that you need, but it does not exist for the benefit of the customer, it is there to make money for the retailers. Some of them will be using it to clear out old stock from their warehouses.
If you are buying something to upgrade, or because it is bigger or better than the one you already have, consider donating or selling your old one, as leaving items sat in a cupboard doing nothing doesn’t help you, or the environment. Charities would love to get your old items to resell, or sell them yourself on Facebook, Ebay, Gumtree or the sales boards in your local shop.
More info on how Black Friday deals may not be all they seem
Useful advice on your rights when shopping online