20 November 2020

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Black Friday has become an annual tradition here in the U.K.. The sale, which started in America, reached our shores in 2010 and by 2019, it was estimated that we spent £6 billion (research from finder.com) on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But how did this tradition start? And how, with the U.K. in lockdown will Black Friday look this year?

The origins of Black Friday

Black Friday originated in America and the term was phrased as early as 1869, when two bankers bought a large amount of gold, in the hope that this would drive the prices up and they would be rich.

However, on September the 24th, 1869, the US gold market crashed, and the term Black Friday was created. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Black Friday was used in relation to the Friday after Thanksgiving. Due to lots of people travelling around Philadelphia for the holiday season, police weren’t allowed to take that Friday off, and they had to work extra-long shifts- the police named this day Black Friday.

The term spread through Philadelphia and later it grew throughout the country. By the 1980s the term was widely used across America by retailers referring to the yearly sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

It became so popular over in the US, U.K. companies introduced the sale here in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2013 when things really got out of hand.

The U.K. Chaos

Amazon introduced Black Friday to the U.K. in. 2010. This was so successful customers complained that popular products had sold out within seconds. Due to the activity on the website, Amazon kept crashing as they couldn’t handle the traffic.

In 2013, Asda brought about the first in-store Black Friday sale, and it was absolute chaos. People flocked to their nearest Asda to try and take advantage of the 70% off. There were reports of fighting and broken bones as people gave it everything to get their hands on the best deal.

The success of Asda’s Black Friday quickly caught on and many other shops introduced in store and online Black Friday deals with 2018 seeing the average person spending £346 on the sale.

What will a Covid-19 Black Friday look like?

The UK is in a full lockdown, and with all non-essential shops closing (although some offering click and collect services), there will be no stores open for people to browse the sales. Basically, this means Black Friday will just become one long Cyber Monday. Could the days of long queues, early starts and fighting in Asda be over for good?

Remember the scenes from the good old days of scrambling for TV’s in Asda on Black Friday? Click here to reminisce.

The first Black Friday in the UK

The move online

Recently Black Friday in the U.K. has moved online due to how accessible the internet is for everyone. The ease of shopping from your mobile has been a large factor to why the famous sale has moved online. In 2019, 67% of online Black Friday traffic came from mobile devices, while 54% of orders received came through a mobile.

Retailers will want to offer you the best deals

With footfall at zero in-stores, retailers will need to take advantage of this time of year, when people are online searching for the best deals. Expect to receive many e-mails from retailers as they target you for sales via e-mail, SMS & through your letterbox! You’re probably already receiving a multitude of deals and we’re not even close to the big day itself!

Keep a look out for online retailers offering ‘early access’ to existing and loyal customers, these are great opportunities to get access to great stock at reduced prices and you’ll likely get there before anyone else, well, the online mainstream crowd at least.

Extended return periods

Retailers will need to react and adapt to their customers changing needs. With no in-store shopping, customers aren’t able to try before they buy, which could lead to more returns and refunds. Some companies may look at lengthening their return period or bringing in more exchange policies. It’s worth checking within the terms and conditions to see if any rules have changed. For example, Amazon’s holiday extended policy means any product purchased between October 1st and December 31st can be returned until the 31st of January 2021.

It has already started

Black Friday has already started! Many retailers are offering month long discounts for customers while others are getting ready to start their sale a week early. E.g. Currys ‘Ready, Set, Go’ has already started, offering customers early Black Friday deals.

Companies which have started their Black Friday sales, click the links to start finding the best deals on products you love:

·      Save 12% or 15% when you shop at Dell and use code BLACK12 or BLACK15

·      Amazon have an early Black Friday sale running until the 19th of November

·      Argos has half price on many toys and 25% off baby and nursery

·      Currys early Black Friday sale ‘Ready, Set, Go’ is underway which get you £700 off a 4K LG TV

·      Asda have started their discounts, the supermarket are running a ‘super-charged Asda Price pocket tap

·      Shop now for discounts at John Lewis including electronics, beauty and home & furniture and much more

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