THE BLOG

Is Black Friday Finished?

13/11/2015 09:42 GMT | Updated 12/11/2016 10:12 GMT

I need a new TV. I actually don't have one in my house right now and I'd like to be able to watch Netflix on a screen bigger than my iPhone. With Black Friday around the corner surely it makes sense to wait another week or two?

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not really all that interested in Black Friday. I know the retailers get stock especially for the event and I don't want to be climbing over bodies to grasp at a TV bargain. Shops look like combat zones during Black Friday.

The process I take when thinking about something like a new TV is to ask friends on Facebook and to look at some retailer websites. I have already found a Samsung that I like the look of, but I haven't got to my local retailer to take a look yet. When I go to the store I can almost guarantee that the in-store price will be more than I can see on the Internet so first I'll need to check that there isn't a better TV available and then the bargaining over price will begin.

Nowadays this is a fairly typical sales cycle. The customer researches the product online and goes into a store knowing what he or she wants and exactly how much it costs at every competing retailer. In-store sales staff are aware how flexible the prices are and clearly they need to compete with the online stores.

For me none of this is different because of Black Friday. I don't want to walk into a store and be surrounded by crowds of people grasping at TVs that are supposedly cheap. I want to know how much that TV costs in other stores, what the exact specification is, and what previous customers think of it. It's hard to do that research as people push and shove and the retailer shouts that they only have limited stock so you need to make a decision right now.

In the UK, Asda has scrapped their Black Friday sale citing shopper fatigue as the reason. In the USA, outdoor sports retailer REI has given all their staff the day off so they can go out hiking. The consulting firm PwC released data recently showing that US retailers sell more in the week before Black Friday week and the weeks after, in the run-up to the end of the year.

The data suggests that US consumers are tired of Black Friday. But retailers across the world are slavishly preparing for this event regardless of what consultants like PwC are saying. Maybe Asda is ahead of the curve for the UK market? They were the first British retailer to start supporting Black Friday so it is worth watching why they are now rejecting the event.

Perhaps I am just one lone voice, but I'm going to actively avoid Black Friday. I'll probably go and have a look at some TVs in-store this weekend and if I see one I like, I'll buy it.

At least I can shop without the crowds and use my phone to compare prices and check reviews. Perhaps there are some great bargains available, but the overall shopping experience is also valuable to me. If a retailer expects me to wait in a line at midnight so I can get their best price then that's not a retailer that I will ever want to build a relationship with and surely customer loyalty is worth more than a one-day sale?