Gifts Today magazine

Support for Black Friday stumbles

After flourishing in recent years, some retailers and consumers are sceptical that the day of discounts is right for them

Mixed feelings surrounding the US retail phenomenon Black Friday have led some of the UK’s leading retailers to reconsider their involvement.

Asda has decided to tone down its participation in Black Friday this year, according to Retail Week. It is thought this is to avoid the discount frenzy’s disruption to trading patterns in what is a crucial time of the year. It is unlikely that the supermarket will eschew the event entirely, but this year’s offering will likely be more muted, according to Retail Week’s sources.

Primark boss George Weston has also branded Black Friday as unproductive, telling Retail Week he “does not see the point”. He added that all the promotions did was redistribute sales across different weeks, rather than boosting them. “So the week of Black Friday was good and the following week was bad and if you average them together sales were fine,” he said.

Chaotic scenes from last year, involving big crowds and overly enthusiastic shoppers, have also turned consumers off of the idea. A survey of 10,000 shoppers from analyst Verdict found that the amount of people planning to take advantage of Black Friday this year have dropped by 10%, from 47% to 37%. The biggest drop in enthusiasm comes from women. More than half (51%) planned to take part last year, but this has slipped to 39%.

Verdict said that the stressful shopping environment of Black Friday may have “negatively impacted the enjoyment of shopping both online and in store, making this year’s event less appealing for female shoppers”.

These findings do contradict with Retail Week’s own research, however, which suggests nearly 15% more shoppers plan to buy something on Black Friday this year, pushing UK daily spend above £1billion. You can read more of that study’s findings here.

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