Black Friday: The 'Do-Gooders', The Optimistic and The Ugly
It's that time of year again. Black Friday and Cyber Monday. true take a look at the 'Do-Gooders', the more encouraging shopping trends that are emerging, with a scattering of the less attractive aspects of the annual frenzied event.
Black Friday: The Headlines
• New research suggests that those planning to hit Black Friday sales will spend less than they did last year.
• UK consumers are expected to spend an average of £189.59 each in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in 2023. vs £232.27 last year.
• Online sales are expected to account for 63% of all Black Friday spending in 2023 vs 61% from last year.
The ‘Do-Gooders’: using Black Friday to make a statement.
Over-consumption, environmental triggers, and wastefulness, all factors that can be associated with the annual frenzied event. But increasingly more brands are using Black Friday to show a greener commitment with longevity.
- Patagonia’s powerful "Don't Buy This Jacket" campaign launched over ten years across to highlight the negative impact of large sales events on the environment.
- Clothes brand, Passenger, offers its shoppers the chance to plant five trees to protect the rainforest for every order over the Black Friday period with over 385,000 planted to date.
- Ikea, Sofology and Rituals have all embraced "Green Friday," focusing on sustainable practices and responsible consumption and products with endurance and purpose.
- Even fashion outlets, an industry known for its culpability in impulsive purchases, like MeandEm and Rixo are opting for charitable donations rather than deep discounts.
The Optimistic: generating greener ways to shop.
A growing movement against Black Friday has given rise to alternatives to traditional seasonal shopping. More consumers committing to "Buy Nothing Day," a counter-movement encouraging people to abstain from making purchases on Black Friday. "Small Business Saturday" promotes supporting local businesses, offering a more community-oriented approach to spending. The outcome means that more retailers have to respond with more ethical and socially responsible offers, such as deals supporting local businesses and charitable causes.
#TakeBackFriday: Teemill, a sustainable UK-based print-on-demand supplier, is working with its community of 10,000 stores to reverse Black Friday through its #TakeBackFriday campaign. Customers are encouraged to send back Teemill-made clothing they no longer wear, which will be recycled into new products, and they'll be rewarded for doing so. This initiative promotes a circular supply chain, enabling users to create, sell, or remake sustainable and circular clothing products.
The Ugly: approach the event with caution.
Most of us are conscious that seemingly attractive Black Friday deals may lure shoppers into a spending hysteria, resulting in unnecessary pressure and overspending. But the warnings seemingly are louder than ever before. Consumer watchdog Which? has cautioned that many advertised deals should be taken with scepticism, cautioning that some businesses use the event to get rid of excess inventory by selling it at drastically reduced prices.
Several media outlets have been outright with their response - issuing warnings about the hype surrounding Black Friday, emphasising the importance of a discerning "genuine bargain" before making purchases. Last year, personal finance expert Martin Lewis stressed that buying something solely because it's discounted can lead to wasteful spending.
The Bottom Line
Black Friday, despite its criticisms, does have a significant impact on the economy. It’s a key driver for increased consumer spending, a welcome boost for many retailers in the current climate. And with this comes a more positive transformation, for many brands, to help change the narrative around the event, from one focused on consumerism to more responsible and sustainable consumption. As Black Friday continues to evolve, lets hope we continue to see more inspiring alternative shopping movements, that encourage spend for those who can afford it, in a greener more sustainable way.