When we think of winter, we think of Christmas and presents. Many Americans will think of Thanksgiving and with that… Black Friday. What is Black Friday? There are two theories as to where black Friday got its name from. Firstly, it is believed that Police officers in Philadelphia came up with the name to describe all the work they had to do on that day from the shoppers on that Friday. Another theory is that it is the time when stores move from red ink (losses) to profits (black ink). Black Friday is (for many) the first day of Christmas shopping and when the prices fall, demand rises. People have the perception that they should get something just because it is on sale and thus consumers are more likely to purchase items they don’t even need. In fact, some people spend money they don’t have. They will spend on their credit cards and interest may build causing them to go into debt. Winter is the time when capitalism and consumerism thrive, there is a constant demand for more goods and presents. People are enticed by increased advertising around Christmas and feel obliged to buy gifts even if that causes them to risk their own financial stability. Stores benefit because:
You are more likely to buy other things in the store since you are there
They put prices up a few days before to make the discounts appear better
Stores that sell high price items such as TVs and Phones often get people to buy warranties or replacement plans (complementary goods). In 2014, $50.9 billion was spent during the Black Friday weekend. Each year, more money is spent on black Friday and certain stores start advertising their black Friday sales weeks in advance
May lead to a larger consumer base – at a time when shoppers enter practically any story searching for the best deals, a store may end up gaining customers if they liked what they bought and return it at a later date
A lot of the goods on sale are either clearance stock or have proven to be unpopular
We may ask – if black Friday is so profitable for stores, why don’t they have these sales more often?
Firstly, they want to bring hype to the day. If they were common, people wouldn’t care, and stores would just be constantly selling items at discounted prices.
Furthermore, people don’t have holidays and money to spend constantly. Many people save up to buy lots of things on Black Friday.
Moreover, some stores fear getting backlash from commercialising on certain holidays, so they don’t want to obtain a negative brand image.
We also may wonder – what problems does this pose for the economy. Some people argue that the lengths people are willing to go to for a bargain suggest that prices in the economy are too high. Moreover, many of these goods are imported goods meaning it can worsen a country's Current Account as they import more around this season.
Additionally, the effects on the environment
are immense as a large part of Black Friday is cheap, in-style clothes... fast fashion. All you need to look at is PLT’s worryingly low prices last year during their sale - as low as £0.08 as shown in the picture below. It became clear that PLT is massively overproducing and sparked concerns over the pay of workers in the company.
By Athene, Pheobe, Harriete & Rhianna