Christmas comes early as Black Friday hits the UK
28 November 2014 by Marketing Team
As many would have heard this morning, today is no ordinary Friday – today is Black Friday. Forget any talk of economic crisis, this is in an example of quite the opposite. A compelling day of business in the run up to Christmas, advertisers and marketers alike have successfully made a very American tradition feel like it has been a staple event in our calendar for years. But what is Black Friday? According to Graham Ruddick of the telegraph;
“Retailers have the Philadelphia Police Department to thank for Black Friday. It was the American police who, during the 1950s and 1960s, gave the name to the day after Thanksgiving because of the chaos that ensued in the city as shoppers flocked to the high street sales while spectators travelled to the annual Army vs Navy American football match.”
The chaos seems to have made a safe passage across the Atlantic this year as this morning it was reported that Police were called out to bring control to various scuffles which broke out in supermarkets across the country. The pandemonium brought on by big discounts however is far more dramatic stateside; tragically, since 2006 four people have died and 56 have been injured in Black Friday incidents.
The reality is that Black Friday in this country is only really in its infancy, as last year was the first time it made significant ripples in the market place. John Lewis revealed it was the first time the day broke previous records for a single day’s online trade and according to an article by the BBC, Visa estimates that Black Friday will be up 22% on last year with £1m spent on its cards every three minutes.
Black Friday, very much like father’s day, is an event which has been imported from the US to act as a catalyst to consumerism and expenditure whilst having no historical or cultural relevance to the UK. Another event which has potential to weave itself into our commercial calendar next year is Singles day; an anti-valentine’s day which has becomes serious business in China. The idea is to celebrate being single and as the day has evolved from a Chinese university campus in the 90’s to a national event, retailers have added that the best way to celebrate being single is to buy yourself something.
On November 11th 2014, a Chinese firm called Alibaba (the Chinese equivalent of Amazon if you like) generated an astonishing $9 billion dollars in sales. In one day.
Whilst many of us will have ignored the bargain bonanza on this grey Friday, the phenomenon of black Friday in America has potentially reached its maturity. That’s right, with people barely unable to wait until their Thanksgiving dinner has been fully digested to head out for bargains, the period before black Friday has now been coined ‘grey Thursday’ as retailers look to cash in on the chaotic consumerism. Let’s just hope it isn’t a reference to the Turkey.
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