Black Friday – Simply Discount Deals or a Clever Marketing Ploy?

Today I’m talking all things – Black Friday, you’ve probably heard of the event that’s being named ‘the shopping event of the year’. The American Tradition, of a discounted shopping day after Thanksgiving, gained popularity in the UK from 2013 onwards, with Asda taking part in 2013. Black Friday is a day of huge discounts by retailers – allowing savvy customers to get their Christmas shopping done with huge savings. Whilst Black Friday is only one day, many retailers have chosen to partake in ‘Black Week’ giving customers a full week to grab discounted merchandise and don’t fret if you miss out on that there’s always ‘Cyber Monday’ a discount day dedicated to online retailers, 3 days after Black Friday. Sounds like a lot? Right. Well today I’m taking a look at why retailers choose to provide these slashed price deals to their customers. As well as customers perceptions on Black Friday, is it too much? Are customers over whelmed by the amount of deals? Or do customers love these giant discounts?

I wanted to know people’s perceptions on Black Friday so I asked my Instagram followers a few questions on the mega discount day (200 people responded). Here’s the results: 71% of people said they did shop Black Friday deals proving the discount day is still a hit for consumer. But what about where people are shopping these deals, a massive 87% of people said they prefer to shop Online rather than an In-store. This fits with PWC’s recent report on Black Friday in the UK which stated; “In-store crowds and queues from the early years of Black Friday have disappeared from the UK, with transactions now predominantly online (77%).”

The most telling question for me was that 65% of people admitted they would buy things they wouldn’t usually be buying due to the fact they are cheaper on Black Friday. This is predominately the reason I think discount days like Black Friday are a huge marketing ploy. Having attended a student discount night earlier in the year it made me think about this. I witnessed two students buying matching designer suitcases because they were on offer. Would they have bought them if they weren’t discounted? My thinking is no, as a student myself I wouldn’t normally make such lavish purchases, however when discount and reductions are on – it seems to justify excessive spending.

With 65% of people admitting that they would buy things just because they are discounted what’s to stop retailers cashing in and providing more and more lucrative deals to attract customers. This was consistent with PWC’s report which stated; “A genuine, time-limited deal can make customers feel rewarded, and may persuade undecided shoppers to purchase while they can.”

Which’s recent report found that “95% of the Black Friday deal items investigated – which included popular tech, home and personal care products – were available for the same price or cheaper in the six months after.” Therefore customers were led to believe they are getting an amazing deal encouraging them to spend when often these deals aren’t genuine.

One thing I have personally found this year however is that the sheer amount of marketing material distributed by companies is overwhelming. My emails and app notifications have not stopped this week with each brand trying to one up each other on their deals. And it’s not even Friday yet! When participants in the survey were asked about this the jury was still out. 32% of people found the deals overwhelming, 20% reported receiving ‘a good amount’ whilst 35% of people thought ‘the more merrier’ in regards to the amount of information they wanted to receive. So overall 55% reacted positively to the marketing material they were receiving from companies. Showing that the marketing material retailers are putting out is still working in luring customers in to shop these deals.

Overall I think Black Friday is a big win for retailers it has been proven that customers will purchase things they usually wouldn’t or make a buying decision more quickly if an item is on sale. However often retailers aren’t losing out by discounting these items, as Which found these deals often aren’t genuine and are marketed to look like a massive saving when in fact they aren’t. I think it’s up to customers to be savvy in their Black Friday purchasing and consider whether they are really getting a huge saving.

Check out:

Which Report: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/black-friday/article/black-friday-deals/black-friday-deals-how-to-check-if-a-black-friday-deal-is-real

Pwc Report: https://www.pwc.co.uk/industries/retail-consumer/insights/black-friday-cyber-monday.html

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