Black Friday. The name evokes images of people turning into crazed beasts. In the UK many thought the name justified last year’s so-called Black Friday shopping spree, marred by reports of shoppers fighting over cheap deals. But despite record sales, many UK retailers are to boycott the initiative.
Five years after online giant Amazon introduced the US Black Friday shopping concept to Britain — which involves stock being sold at heavily discounted prices for one day only — many involved in the retail industry are questioning its value.
Last year, with online and in-store retailers joining in on the late November initiative, UK shoppers spent US$1.2 billion (£800 million) in one day, seeing store traffic jump by 23 percent.
However, chaotic scenes in many retail stores marred the day across the country, with some customers — desperate to cash in on the outrageously low prices — becoming involved in a series of scuffles and arguments.
Although the violence and unsavory behavior disgusted many, it seems retailers are set to turn their backs on Black Friday 2015 for different reasons.
Following last year’s shopping spree, 2014 saw the weakest December sales growth since the financial crisis of 2008, with online sales experiencing their lowest ever December growth of just five percent.
Large retailer ASDA has recently joined Primark, Argos, John Lewis and more in cancelling or seriously reducing their Black Friday sales.
Research has found that massive discounts like Black Friday doesn’t increase the amount people spend over the Christmas period, but it merely concentrates it on one day, which causes havoc for staff and security, while creating problems for delivery and returns operations.
As a result, many in the UK are looking to spread out their Christmas deals to avoid a heavy concentration of sales.
Despite various retailers boycotting the heavily concentrated one-day shopping sales, many are still taking part, while only time will tell if Black Friday once again lives up to its name.