What’s the point of Black Friday?

Photo by Harry Dowde

Black Friday. It’s the early hours of the morning and hungry hordes of excited customers are gathered outside shops across the country, staring desperately into the windows. As the clock ticks closer to that frenzied moment when the doors finally open, the people choose their targets; plasma screen T.Vs, laptops, and even fancy new kettles are up for grabs. So many deals, so many slashed prices, surely it’s worth being trampled on to save a lot of money?

Well what if you could save the money and more, whilst avoiding the risk of having your foot run over by 10 different trolleys racing around the store? Most would scoff at the very idea, but a recent investigation by Which? into the products sold on Black Friday has shown that of 94 products, 87% were either the same price or cheaper at other times in the year.

The investigation was conducted over a 12-month period, 6 months before and after Black Friday. Of these 94 products nearly half of them (47%) were actually cheaper in the following 6 months after Black Friday. One telling example of this was an LG, 60inch 4K TV advertised by Amazon at £799. Following Black Friday, the TV was £50 cheaper on 62 different occasions and dropped to £150 cheaper for at least 4 days at the end of December and beginning of January.

By Harry Dowde

These results suggest that Black Friday is more about marketing than actually having the lowest prices.

Nick Taylor, a subject leader in the marketing departing of the Lincoln International Business School, seconds this, saying: “Why do so many companies run Black Friday? The answer that I would see from a marketing point of view is that they have no choice. If one retailer has a Black Friday event the next retailer has to have one as well, otherwise they’re frightened they’re going to miss out.”

“They say Black Friday, ‘come in, it’s a special deal’, actually it’s not a special deal, it’s just presented in a different way, so it comes down to marketing communications and promotions.”

This begs the question, is Black Friday really worth the stress, the hassle, and the lightening of your pockets?

The report by Which? says: “Unless you’re in a rush for a particular product, our research has revealed that you could be better off waiting until after Black Friday. Of the products listed above, all were lower in price during December and January when compared to Black Friday.”

So, if you are still planning on venturing aisle after aisle, or scrolling through pages of discounts online, avoid those impulse buys because the ‘best deal’ may not be as good as it seems.