November and December are the months when retail businesses finally start making a profit. As retailers we’re all crossing our fingers hoping that this Christmas shopping season will make up for our paltry figures for the rest of the year. As shoppers though we are looking for a bargain. Roll on Black Friday.
What is Black Friday ? Originally its the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA when people really start on their Christmas shopping. And retailers of course want to capitalise on that. But does it really work, for retailers or shoppers?
The consumer champions Which? have just released their report on 2016 Black Friday and they have revealed that discounts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They say that many discounts aren’t exclusive to Black Friday, that it’s easy to get ripped off. Last year 60% of the electrical goods they tracked could be bought at the same price or less at other times of the year, including the whole of December.
The Neff Slide & Hide B44S32N5GB single oven was sold for £494.99 at Currys/PC World on Black Friday 2016. This sounded like a good deal, as the advert claimed that it cost £599.99 throughout September and most of October. But just three weeks later, the oven was sold for £45 less. It was actually cheaper than the Black Friday price for at least 113 other days of the year.
We all know that trick companies have of changing the prices of sofas and beds up and down throughout the year to make you feel like you’re getting a bargain, when infact you’re not – you’re just paying the base price. For small independent businesses, that’s just not possible. We don’t have the economy of scale that the Amazons and the Argos’s of the world have, and we do like to be able to pay ourselves a minimum wage. Our prices are pretty much the minimum we can charge and still afford to pay ourselves for making the thing.
So do small retailers lose out on the Christmas rush? Well some say it doesn’t have to be so. Small Business Saturday are slowly starting to steal some of the thunder according to Fortune, the business magazine. As a shopping day, it’s proving much bigger than Black Friday for small retailers they say. This year’s Small Business Saturday is on 2nd December.
As shoppers we definitely have a choice. Shop small or shop big. There’s so many advantages to shopping small as we wrote in our article about supporting independent businesses but one thing is for sure, Black Friday is not all it’s cracked up to be. Hold onto your purse, and support Indie Friday instead!