Black Friday – who benefited from the madness?

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Now that the dust has settled on the UK’s keyboards following a weekend of frenzied shopping for discounted items, I started to wonder who really benefits from the madness?

Firstly, where has Black Friday actually come from? Originating in America, it is traditionally the day after Thanksgiving that signifies the start of the Christmas Shopping period. A number of US brands, such as Amazon and Asda (the UK arm of Wallmart) then started to introduce the concept into the UK, with a number of brands following suit and getting involved. So much so that this Black Friday a reported £1billion pounds was spent online in a single day for the first time in the UK, an increase of 34 per cent on last year. According to the BBC, Amazon alone sold 7.4 million items (roughly 86 a second!). Does this mean that the retailers are the winners? The website eConsultancy findings showed that the average order value would rise 118 per cent this Black Friday with clothing, accessories and outdoor goods seeing a 500 per cent increase and order values rising by £20. However, a number of retailers have not taken part, including Asda, who said this was down to “shopper fatigue around flash sales”.

What about the brands themselves? Is it damaging to their values to slash prices in such a way to make a large quantity of quick sales? Or are consumers the real winners in this? Research by Collinson Latitude reported that brand loyalty (49 per cent) and reward points (33 per cent) were amongst the biggest factors influencing consumer’s Black Friday purchases. Despite this, consumers will only use two loyalty programmes on the day out of an average of eight that they belong to. Consumers also lost out on three billion loyalty points on Black Friday. Traffic to brands’ websites was heavily affected with John Lewis reporting “record levels of demand”.

Finally, what about the advertisers? According to The Guardian, advertisers spent almost 80 per cent more this Black Friday than on a typical Friday. Newspapers were the big winners with £5million being taken in print advertising with The Sun taking 1.2million in revenue on Friday, 153 per cent more than an average Friday in the last 12 months. Media Agency MEC commented that: “It is one of the biggest advertising events of the year and national newspapers benefit more than any other channel.”

From what I’ve read and research for this article, the positives outweigh the benefits for the majority of people involved with Black Friday. Increased interaction with brands (on and offline), consumers benefiting from the price cuts and increased advertising spend within a declining printed press market, for me all these seem to be a positive.

So I’m off to play on my new discounted tablet, have a smoothie fresh from my half price 25- functions- in-1 blender, while sitting on my new arctic tractor lawn mower in a designer dinner suit sipping on a case of discounted wine. Same time next year?

Steven Crouch is an account director at Hunterlodge Advertising.