Black Friday -Value Or Waste


We’ve just had Black Friday and it’s an opinion splitter, some people love it for the bargains and discounts, others hate it for its wanton spending and consumerism. It’s part of a huge retail weekend that ends with Cyber Monday when further spending will take place. In reality judging by the adverts etc I keep seeing we can say its really starts a week earlier. 

Last year spending on Black Friday was estimated by the BBC at £1.9 Billion pounds, this year Barclaycard who process more than half the credit and debit card transactions in the UK say spending is up by at least 6%. It’s hard to compute that the 4 day figure will top £4 billion !!!!

That is enough to make the The Force Awakens 20 times, or fund my personal quest to remove all traces of Jar Jar Binks from history.

It’s also interesting to note that while footfall into shops will have seen a peak the majority of this spending will have been done online, people used their access to the web to make sure they didn’t miss out. In fact people actively gave shops a wide berth to take part.

But was it worth it, or was it spending for spending sake, well I ran a little twitter poll on three questions and about what the long term prospects of those purchases were, it made for eye opening results.

_____      ____________     ______

I’m sure we’ve all done it before but how many of you have bought something today that was a sale fever purchase?

41% I Have – 37% Touch & Go On Something – 22% Never

Less than 1 in 4 people felt that they were sure they had only bought what they intended and a whopping 41% knew they had succumbed to the bountiful offer and bought things on impulse.

_____      ____________     ______

How good are you at returning items bought online that you don’t like or don’t fit when they arrive? (30 votes)

37% Always – 27% Most Of The Time – 17% Occasionally – 19% Never

We are all well aware of the issue of that much awaited package turning up and its the wrong colour, wrong size or basically looks shit compared to the picture, but it seems it’s good news for the labels as we aren’t good at returning those orders we don’t want. They end up as completed sales and we are frequently writing off the loss on them rather than recouping the cash we spent.

_____      ____________     ______

Do You Donate Unwanted Clothes (45 Votes)

62% – Always Donate – 18% Donate Sometimes – 2% Never Donate

The good news is that it appears a lot of the goods bought will have a second life and do some good for charity at the same time. Given the volume of goods it appears we never return this helps in terms of sustainability and avoiding just sending things to land fill.

These are just small data samples but it seems the labels are winning on Black Friday, getting us to buy things we weren’t intending to, that we won’t send back. For the its a good chance to empty old stock, clear over orders and drive traffic after all 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing,

For me the jury is still out though as it does still strike me as consumerism at its peak. Personally for me in my quest to make my purchases more ethical and sustainable it wasn’t my thing. This year I’m making a real effort to buy ethical, second hand or vintage. At the end of the day though it comes down to personal choice and done right the discounts can be huge. I have a friend that pretty much saves up all her spare cash for Black Friday and does most of her shopping for Christmas and her winter wardrobe around the week.

Which one of us is right, probably both of us, this is one of those questions without answer, what do you think?

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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