Black Friday has come and gone, with a fast fashion brand selling items for free and a luxury fashion retailer offering 40% off, let’s now reflect on whether or not it’s actually worth it.
Over the years Black Friday has grown from a one day in store event to sales that can now last for the entire month of November. After decades of Black Fridays in the US, it was first introduced in the UK by Amazon in 2010. It has since grown to the point where it’s now just as popular in the UK as it is in the US.
Black Friday is often viewed as the perfect opportunity to take advantage of discounts and save money. It falls on the last Friday of November at a time when many will be in the process of doing their Christmas shopping.
There is no denying that during the season of Black Friday, consumers are able to save money by not paying full price. However, in recent years and 2021 in particular, many are starting to question whether we as consumers are really getting a good deal.
A recent BBC article reported that 90% of Black Friday sales were the same or cheaper before Black Friday. This came as a shock to many because we’ve been made to believe that the Black Friday sales are a bargain.
It is important to note that the majority of retailers have sales running all throughout the year so Black Friday is not the only time of year to get a discount.
This means that the price of an item may vary throughout the year. There is no way to guarantee when shopping in the sales that you’re getting something for the cheapest price it will ever be. You could buy an item at 20% off during summer but find it at 35% off a few weeks later. On the other hand, if you try and wait until the item is cheaper, it could go out of stock which means you miss out.
Retailers often use Black Friday as an opportunity to push consumers to buy things that are already on sale or things they are trying to get rid of. They use techniques to create a sense of urgency to drive people to make purchases. Things like a countdown timer of how long left until the sale is over, phrases like ‘last chance’ or ‘final day’ and using the colour red or a flashing graphic. These things combined make consumers feel like they need to take advantage.
You feel more inclined to buy something because you don’t want to miss out. Yet, it turns out that for many items whether you buy them now or buy them in a few weeks (or even months), the price will be the same if not cheaper.
This can lead to shoppers feeling like they’ve been scammed. This feeling is then heightened when you’ve spent money on things you didn’t really want or need in the first place.
It’s important to remember that you’re only saving money if you’re purchasing things that you planned to buy anyway. A discount (no matter how high) on something you had no intention of buying is not money well spent.
And so, here are three simple tips for when shopping the sales:
The first is to create a specific list of what you want to buy. This ensures that you avoid spending money on things you don’t really need or want.
The second is to check the price of what you plan to buy before the sales, that way you’ll know whether the discount you’re getting is really a bargain or not. However, it is useful to be aware that prices can go up and down throughout the Black Friday season.
Lastly, remember that just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s the cheapest it will ever be.
Overall, I think if you approach Black Friday with a mindset based around thoughtful and considered purchases alongside following the three tips above, it can definitely be worth it. However, if you’re spending money on things you don’t need right away you’re probably better off waiting until the Boxing Day or end of season sales.