Originating in the US, Black Friday traditionally follows Thanksgiving and is widely considered to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Over the past few years Black Friday has firmly cemented itself as a cultural phenomenon in the UK, with Barclaycard estimating that spending was up by 8% in 2017 from 2016 (The Guardian, 2017). John Lewis also described the promotional bonanza as “one of the most successful days” in 2017 (The Guardian, 2017).
With forecasts suggesting shoppers in the UK planned to spend more than £7bn across Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we wanted to find out if our Tribes were going to join in with the bargain hunting and why.
Over two-thirds of our Tribes planned to make Black Friday purchases this year
68% of our Tribes agreed that they were planning to buy something from the Black Friday sales this year. This is up from 41% of Tribes who said that they were participating in the Black Friday sales last year.
The claimed purchasing behaviour of our Tribes this year revolves around using the Black Friday sales to buy items for both themselves and other people, particularly Christmas presents for their family and friends. With 62% agreeing they were purchasing items for both themselves and others; 25% agreeing they were solely purchasing items for themselves; and 14% agreeing they were going to buy items for other people.
For most of our Tribes who planned to take part in the Black Friday sales this year, many described their inclination towards having a plan of what they wanted to buy over making impulsive purchase decisions in the moment.
The majority planned to use the sales afforded by Black Friday to purchase items they didn’t consider to be unusual; with a preference for Christmas presents, electronic goods or everyday items. Many explained how they decide what they’re buying before Black Friday, and wait until the prices go down in the sales before making any purchases. In many cases, especially with electronic goods, our Tribes deemed specific items to be too expensive to justify without the deals that Black Friday brings.
A minority mentioned buying unusual, niche items such as VW Beetle car parts, a Yankee candle gift set, Totaku figures and a dance pole.
“I wouldn’t say I’m after anything unusual. Probably just some things I’ve been eyeing for a while but always thought they were too pricey to justify.” – Female, 16
“I’m wanting a PC monitor so hoping I can get a decent deal from Curry’s PC world etc.”
“Black Friday sales for me are when I start buying Christmas presents for family and friends, and splurge on clothes and shoes that have been in my liked pile waiting for a discount purchase” – Female, 19
“Clothes they’ve wanted for ages, but are waiting for the sales to bring the prices down”
“Just buying items that I needed. Aftershave, boxers, new trainers and some t-shirts. Some shops have really good deals. Might be tempted to buy Xbox One X if there is a good price drop” – Male, 20, Mainstream, Short:Snaps
“I want to buy ‘usual’ stuff like clothing, video games or perhaps electronic devices… I just want to share these gifts with my family and friends” – Male, 24, Aspirant, Solo:Selectives
The majority of our Tribes reported that they had seen many brands advertising their Black Friday sales this year, across a variety of media channels. Adverts on television, social media (especially Instagram) and in personalised emails were frequently mentioned as the most common form of Black Friday advertising that our Tribes remembered. While only a handful didn’t recall any Black Friday adverts, mainly because they had actively tried to avoid it.
Amazon’s Black Friday adverts dominated the memories of our Tribes when we asked them about the brands they remember seeing advertising for. Amazon came up in the majority of responses, with most recalling the adverts hosted on the Amazon website or on television.
“The only Black Friday advertising I’ve seen this year is from Amazon. I’ve seen a banner/picture advert all over the internet for Amazon’s sale. I actually forgot it was almost Black Friday before I saw that advert everywhere!” – Female, 16
“Everything! Honestly there’s so many brands advertising on Instagram. For me clothing is advertised a lot due to my interest in fashion”
“The Amazon Black Friday Countdown adverts are pretty eye-catching” – Male, 23, Aspirant, Solo:Selectives
“Yes, loads of adverts on TV from brands such as Curry’s, Amazon and Very. Probably more but I can’t quite remember which ones”
“Yes, I have seen Amazon advertised loads of times on the television” – Female, 22, Mainstream, Pop:Socials
“Surprisingly I haven’t actually seen a lot of Black Friday adverts this year, and of those that I’ve seen I don’t really recall the brand because they’re pretty standard ads” – Do not identify, 17
“Amazon’s advertising has been prevalent. It’s plastered all over the website” – Male, 20
In addition to Amazon’s advertising, our Tribes remembered several other brands and their Black Friday adverts. These brands fell loosely into three main categories.
Our Tribes recalled seeing lots of electronical retailers advertising their Black Friday deals, most notably Curry’s, PC World and Carphone Warehouse.
These brands were closely followed by online fashion retailers, with ASOS, Debenhams, and Pretty Little Thing mentioned most frequently.
Beauty and Skincare
A few Tribes also remembered Black Friday advertising from beauty and skincare brands , particularly The Body Shop and Superdrug.
“Superdrug has a slide when you go on their website that is black with pink fireworks and says Black Friday great savings”
“I’ve seen lots of online fashion retailers who have been advertising pre-Black Friday deals for students. ASOS had 20% off and they promoted it via The Tab, by doing a series of articles with their top clothing items that students should be buying this winter. Options both for men and women.”
“I saw Curry’s Black Friday advert online and they had lots of deals, it just listed a lot of the offers they are doing and how much you save by buying them now” – Female, 16
“Yes loads, especially the Argos one with Gemma Collins doing hand yoga – so good”
“Many many adverts I can’t even remember. ASOS, Missguided, Three”
“I’ve seen adverts for Ryanair with their winter season sales” – Female, 21, Aspirant, VOD:Socials