There’s little doubt that Black Friday is all about they hype and very little to do with genuine bargains. Many will remember Louise Haggerty from when Black Friday first came to the UK in 2014. You might not remember her name, but you’ll almost certainly recall her as the lady that said “I got a Dyson but I don’t even know if I want it. I just picked it up. I don’t even know how much it costs, I don’t know even know if I’m going to buy it. I just wanted something“.
With the hype comes massive sales, but will consumers be buying genuine bargains or could they get the same products cheaper before or after Black Friday? Which? thinks the later and claim that 95% of products in Black Friday ‘deals’ are cheaper or the same price after the sales. A surprising 61% are cheaper before Black Friday.
“We have repeatedly shown that “deals” touted by retailers on Black Friday are not as good as they seem. Time-limited sales can be a good opportunity to bag a bargain, but don’t fall for the pressure tactics around Black Friday. Our investigation indicates that this popular shopping event is all hype and there are few genuine discounts.”
– Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services, Which?
Which found that 83% of the products Currys PC World advertised as part of its Black Friday promotion had been cheaper or the same price at least once in the six months before the sale. When it came to Amazon, 100% of the items Which? looked at were the same price or cheaper at least once in the six months after Black Friday.
This isn’t altogether surprising, Amazon held Prime Day in July (within the six month window) and Currys PC World, as do all retailers, holds sales events throughout the year. The attraction of Black Friday and what creates the hype is a massive selection of products on sale – more than almost any other time of year. Just because products aren’t cheaper than any other day of the year doesn’t mean that they’re not genuine bargains but it does mean that shoppers don’t have to feel pressured to buy on Black Friday… although many simply can’t help themselves.
Both Currys PC World and Amazon told Which? that, although their deals were strong on Black Friday, they run sales events throughout the year:
“We’re here to give our customers the very best value throughout the year with sales and price-matching to help make exciting technology affordable and accessible.
Our customers tell us that they appreciate the increased choice during Black Friday where we have the most deals on at once. When we launched our Black Friday event last year 40% of those products were the lowest price they had ever been.”
– Currys PC World spokesperson
“We seek to offer our customers great value thanks to low prices all year round as well as a number of fantastic seasonal deals events.
Our Black Friday Sale is about thousands of deals on a huge selection of products from every category across the site, at a time of year when we know saving money is important to our customers. And the best thing about shopping online is that customers can easily compare prices, allowing them to make an informed purchase decision.”
– Amazon spokesperson
I believe that this comes down to products/category – it’s obvious that big brand items hardly ever come at hugely discounted prices. If you don’t count Amazon Alexa devices and similar (new tech brands), you will never see a 40% discount on a brand new iPhone or latest Nikon DSLR camera.
But many brands, especially the new-age/internet brands (such as Gymshark and similar), do offer great, genuine discounts during the Black Friday week and they work perfectly well for them and customers are happy too.
My take on it is that you have to decide on whatever you can offer a genuine discount or not and then stick with it. I would never put my brand’s integrity on the stake and advertise false discounts. It just can’t work well in the long term, your brand’s reputation will suffer.
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