This week we’re taking a step back to shed some real light on the issues with the ‘Black Friday’ shopping weekend.
It’s that time of year again: the days get shorter, the evenings become cosier and (dare we say it) the Christmas spirit may even be creeping in. This week in November also see’s the return of Black Friday.
But what is Black Friday?
A famous American sales event which takes place the weekend after Thanksgiving Day and sees swarms of bargain shoppers search stores, both in person and online, in an attempt to find the best ‘deals’.
Confused about its name?
You’re not the only one. In fact, most people do not know “Black Friday” has been a term associated with financial crises throughout history. Originally related to the US gold market crash in 1869 and later attached to the Wall Street crash of 1929, the name does not suggest this is one of the busiest shopping periods.
It is thought that the name derives from the days of physically writing down sales, with losses in red and profits in black. American shopkeepers found themselves more often than not in the red, but would experience significantly higher sales after Thanksgiving Day when shoppers would purchase seasonal items at a reduced cost.
Consumerism hits the UK...
The shopping holiday’s promotions were first utilised by large online retailers in Britain from 2010, with momentum picking up to include larger in store retailers in the following years. While some large corporations continue to abstain from participating, there seems to be no escaping the texts, emails, tv adverts and social media campaigns surrounding the ‘bargain movement’. The figures reflect the weekend of promotions works - with just under £6 million worth of sales were made in the UK in 2020 alone.
But how real is the deal?
With such bold sale prices it is difficult not to question how legitimate the ‘savings’ made are. In 2018 retail watchdog Which? tracked product prices for 12 months ahead of Black Friday, uncovering that 87% of items were the same price or cheaper at other times throughout the year. This is trend that has continued, with their 2020 investigation revealing that 98% of the discounts advertised over Black Friday weekend were available for the same price or cheaper in the following six months.
What is the damage?
We are aware an unconscious shopping frenzy is not good for the nations personals finances, but with this years supply chain crisis threatening we should consider, now more than ever, the damage Black Friday poses.
- To the environment
Consumerism undoubtedly impacts the planet, people, and animals. In recent years, we have seen large scale retailers put a ‘sustainable’ spin on their product and deals to disguise the damage their organisations do to the environment. The overconsumption fostered through Black Friday can never be considered sustainable, no matter how much ‘greenwashing’ appears throughout advertising.
The numbers reflect just how harmful this trend is, with Black Friday 2020 considered the most harmful seasonal shopping weekend yet. Last year, 429,000 tonnes of carbon were produced in relation to Black Friday parcels being sent in the UK. To put this into perspective, this is equivalent to 435 return flights from London to New York.
The environmental impact doesn’t stop upon your parcels delivery. Studies reflect that 80% of Black Friday purchases are discarded of after one or no uses. This is the outcome of hyper-promoting unnecessary, unwanted and poor quality products to make sales.
- To independent businesses
After a year of on-and-off lockdowns, countless independent shops have made the decision to close their doors for the final time, creating significant loss of jobs and eyesores on UK highstreets. In fact, the ONS found that 50 independent shops closed per day, in the first half of 2021 alone.
It is simply impossible for smaller businesses to compete with the sale prices of larger retailers. Independent shops care greatly for their customers and tend to keep their prices fair all-year-round. With a limited supply of stock, your local shops therefore cannot afford to discount heavily amidst the busiest time of the year. In choosing to purchase from retail giants instead of local shops, you risk losing your favourite shopping spots for good.
The Frontiers Approach
As with all independent businesses, we encourage you to stop before you shop this weekend. We are glad shoppers are beginning to understand that this sales rush can only have negative impacts, and that more people are starting to question and boycott Black Friday and its neighbouring Cyber Monday.
Misleading prices and shopper stampedes isn’t really our style.
We don’t disrespect customer loyalty with select discount codes, announcing flash sales, nor do we adopt a pricing model where the prices are inflated to reflect the discounts we intend to release. The prices we set are honest, reflecting the true quality and value of each product.
Furthermore, our team aim to give every one of our customers the same quality and personalised service whether they buy online or in store, all year round. In supporting a small business, you are also supporting the jobs of the team serving you, directly.
That is why this ‘Black Friday’ weekend, we will be donating 15% of all sales to CHAS, a cause we care dearly for. So this weekend: shop local and shop quality, all while raising funds to those who need it far more than ourselves or large scale corporations.