With Black Friday fast approaching many will be gearing up to make the most of the bedazzling promotions on offer and hopefully grab a bargain when it comes those must-have gadgets and gizmos. But is Black Friday really all it’s cracked up to be and will you be left elated or underwhelmed at the promotions on offer this year?
According to Wikipedia, Black Friday is the popular name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Thanksgiving Day takes place on the fourth Thursday of November, with the day after being regarded as the start of the U.S. Christmas shopping season. Black Friday is now widely regarded as the day on which eye-watering discounts and bargains can be had, particularly when it comes to high ticket technology items. Ironically, Black Friday is rarely a 24 hour event anymore, with many retailers running their promotions for the entire month of November.
In 2019, Black Friday shopping equated to over $7.4 billion in sales, making it the second largest online sales day ever, only superseded by Cyber Monday, which reports indicated drew in over $9 billion in sales. Technology, gadgets and home appliances tend to attract some of the biggest discounts during this period, but it is also important to note that you still need to do your research to ensure you are in fact getting a good deal.
There are several reasons for this. One is that often, Black Friday is used to shift under-performing stock or older models in preparation for the release of upgraded models. For those who aren’t too bothered about having the latest versions, this can certainly be the perfect time to purchase that much wanted games console, mobile or tablet, but it’s just worth bearing in mind before taking the plunge. It is also important to take a look at the exact details of the bundles that are on offer, as the deals tend to be limited to certain additional games or accessories which may not be on your wishlist. For example, PS4 Black Friday offers tend to provide savings on the additional games which are included in the bundle rather than on the device itself. So if you were keen on getting those particular games then it’s likely to be a clear money saver. But if you’re probably going to go out and buy additional games alongside it, then the Black Friday offer may not provide much benefit to you in the long run.
Another factor to consider is the novelty factor, as many of the gadgets on offer during Black Friday are not likely to be everyday items. These high ticket items may include top spec TVs, smart hoovers, and beauty gadgets all of which ooze sophistication and technical wizardry. The significant RRP of these items means that they can appear to have significant discounts applied, sometimes in the hundreds, which can trick consumers into thinking that they really need to take advantage of such an amazing offer. Who wouldn’t feel elated at saving themselves $500 on any item? The reality is that at such a difficult time financially due to COVID-19, it’s important not get sucked into the hype of Black Friday and question just how necessary the item really is. Sure, saving $500 on a $2500 TV is great if you really needed it, but if you didn’t, then that’s $2000 you’ve just wasted that could have gone towards other arguably more important things.
It is clear that many people do follow this path and end up experiencing ‘buyer regret’. Having splashed out during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, the reality then hits home in the days and weeks following. Reports suggest that even without the lure of Black Friday, around 25% of items bought online are returned. A fascinating insight into the reasons for Black Friday returns was revealed by Statista, in which 24% of returns were due to ‘regretting an impulse purchase’, 28% actually found it cheaper elsewhere and 13% had ‘spent beyond their means’. This clearly suggests that many of the technology purchases which take place on Black Friday are likely to be driven by FOMO (fear of missing out) rather than by a genuine need for the products on offer.
There is no denying that there are likely to be some fantastic offers available during Black Friday for those who are looking to gain added value on items which they were already planning to purchase at some point in the near future. This is key; the intention to buy whether it was Black Friday or not. The secret will be to try and avoid getting caught up in the hype and focus on trying to get yourself the best possible deal on items that you genuinely want or need.