Get ready for Black Friday!

The online shopping revolution and the rise of multinational retailers has made Black Friday a key date in the UK’s shopping calendar, this year scheduled for November 27. This has changed the way customers plan their Christmas shopping as they grow more aware of the date and now expect bigger and better deals from retailers.

What is Black Friday?

The term ‘Black Friday’ originates in America, referring to the day after Thanksgiving when retailers traditionally offer deals and discounts in what has become the unofficial launch of the festive shopping period.

In the UK, Black Friday was introduced in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2013 that public awareness really grew. Last year, Black Friday became the most popular shopping date in the UK and this year it looks to be even bigger.

What can I expect?

Black Friday is not only an online event – high street stores and supermarkets will be running flash sales in stores too, with most sales kicking off at midnight or 8am. Last year, Amazon released flash deals every 10 minutes for the week running up to Black Friday, and this year some retailers have kicked off the discount season already.

Last year, Black Friday saw British consumers spend £810m on online purchases alone, helped out by the increased use of mobile and tablets used for shopping, which works out to roughly a whooping £9,375 per second. This year, internet sales over this 24-hour period are expected to surpass £1bn for the first time in UK history.

Many stores panic-slashed prices at the last minute as they saw the scale of Black Friday and realised that without promotions, they would lose out on footfall or website hits in that key spending weekend, and many ended up making no profit as a result. Both Marks & Spencer and Debenhams were amongst those who struggled to cope with such high demands. M&S, however, have promised ‘jaw-dropping sales this year’ as they offer discounts in homeware, clothing and food.

What are the best deals?

There were some amazing deals last year and with this year’s retailers more prepared, deals are looking rather good.

John Lewis: Have already launched its Black Friday website and, like last year, have promised to honour their ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ pledge and match their competitors’ prices
Amazon: Last year received orders for more than 5.5m goods on Black Friday and just like last year they will be kicking off the week before Black Friday with their ‘lightning deals’
Argos: In the first hour of releasing their Black Friday deals, their website saw 660,000 unique visits, and they encourage shoppers to pre-register online for quicker access to their best deals
Currys PC World: Have launched a price comparison app and have also promised to match cheaper prices with their major competitors, including John Lewis, Argos and Asda.

Any tips of navigating through this crazy sale?

* To avoid the rush, try shopping at unsociable hours to snap up incredible deals.
* Sign up to newsletters so you get an idea of what is on offer before you start shopping online.
* For those that are social media savvy, why not follow retailers’ accounts, as many will also be promoting online.
* It is also strongly recommended to shop online to avoid the crush of this key date in UK shopping.