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Yes, it has finally arrived...Black Friday 2017 and the Christmas shopping season has officially begun.
Oh wait...hang on a minute...we still have four days to go!
But you'd be forgiven for making that mistake too seeing as many retailers are following Amazon’s lead by launching their Black Friday deals early.
For many retailers, Christmas began back in July but November’s Black Friday, which has, over recent years, expanded to fill a whole week, remains the most influential period in the festive shopping calendar.
Originating in the US, Black Friday is traditionally the day following Thanksgiving Day and has been considered the beginning of the festive shopping season as far back as 1932.
In 2016, UK sales during the week of Black Friday were around £6.5bn with an estimated £2bn spent on Black Friday alone, underlining the real shift that this event has delivered when it comes to shopping habits in the UK.
What will Black Friday 2017 look like?
Well, Amazon kick started its Black Friday sale a week early and they are not alone. Curry’s PC World and Argos also launched their campaigns earlier this year with each keen to get ahead of the competition by being the first to offer the best deals to their customers.
In the grocery sector, Morrison’s also launched its Black Friday sales early with Prosecco Magnums on offer for just £10.
But there are question marks over whether Asda will make a Black Friday comeback this year, after a two year break from the festive sales bonanza. US owned Asda, who were one of the original retailers to bring Black Friday to the UK, took a step back in 2015 and 2016 after their customers were literally fighting in the aisles over discounted TVs back in 2014.
Other retailers with sales already underway include Boots, with beauty sets and electrical items on offer, John Lewis, with deals on a variety of toys and gadgets, and Debenhams offering reduced prices across women’s fashion, homeware and electricals.
So, will it bring happiness or headaches?
Every year, the Black Friday sales is a retail catalyst, getting millions of consumers out in the shops and starting their Christmas shopping but the impact is certainly less than it used to be.
By drawing out the sales period, with some retailers opting to go early and others keeping their deals under wraps for as long as possible, consumers certainly feel less pressured. And, after the furore in Asda back in 2014, retailers are keen to avoid the crazy panic buying we have seen in previous years.
There’s no doubt that Black Friday will dominate the season yet again in 2017 and, for some retailers, it remains the focus of their entire Christmas campaign. But it remains to be seen how successful this year’s Black Friday is. The industry itself is sceptical as to whether it really benefits them in the long run, particularly in the current climate of rising costs and squeezed margins.
Every year, we see more and more retailers opting out of the chaotic seasonal craze and we suspect many retailers will instead be planning for a longer and more enjoyable shopping experience for their customers throughout the whole of the festive period.
After all, Christmas is much more than Black Friday so don’t eat all your mince pies in one sitting!
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