When I was young, one of Britain’s biggest ‘traditions’ was that Boxing Day marked the beginning of the post-Christmas sales.
Christmas Day television would be littered with adverts from furniture companies and department stores, announcing that we could go out the next day and start shopping all over again.
It kept the excitement going. It made us feel like we could still squeeze some more juice out of our wallets and reward ourselves with a bargain.
You wouldn’t see things being sold at discounts before Christmas.
Christmas discounting now comes early
In the UK, and probably around the world, retailing changed over the past 15 years. Shops that would refuse to drop prices until after Christmas started running sales in the weeks leading up to it.
Austerity and recession perhaps caused this shift, and no doubt the availability of online retailing ramped up the competition for high street shops.
So, the idea of a sale before Christmas is now commonplace. What isn’t commonplace in the UK is a special holiday at the end of November. We have Guy Fawkes Night in early November, then it’s all about the long countdown to Christmas Eve.
Black Friday is a US thing
Black Friday and Cyber Monday come from the fact that Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of each November. Americans then take Friday as a holiday, and this is what created Black Friday. Marketers later created the idea of Cyber Monday on the following Monday, to promote online shopping amid the frenzy of the weekend.
Now we have Black Friday in the UK. I don’t mind that, but why do we have to run Black Friday deals over two weeks or even longer?
Shoppers spent more than £3.3bn over Black Friday weekend in 2015. That’s great for the retail industry. There’s no reason to call it Black Friday in the UK, though, because it isn’t a public holiday.
In the UK, Amazon is promoting two weeks of Black Friday bargains, Smiths Toy shop is offering Black Friday vouchers that people can actually use BEFORE Black Friday.
Why not just call it a sale?