Black Friday is nearly upon us and the end of this week will bear witness to hundreds of high street and online stores slashing their prices in order to incite a pre-Christmas spending frenzy.
Black Friday is an American concept and a relatively recent addition to the British calendar. Although it didn’t make its way across the Atlantic until 2010, it has since been gaining serious momentum and has already joined Christmas Eve and Boxing Day as one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It is estimated that Brits plan to collectively spend over £7bn during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year – that translates as an average of £220 each person.
Whilst Black Friday’s presence and popularity may be rising with every passing year, so is a simultaneous anti-Black Friday movement. Initiatives such as ‘Buy Nothing Day’, ‘Just a Card’ and ‘Black out Black Friday’ continue to grow in response to all the spending.
There are several explanations for these anti-Black Friday sentiments. One is the negative impact the day has on small businesses – when consumers buy the majority of their Christmas shopping in the same place and at the same time, it snatches sales from independent sellers and eats into their much-needed profits.
Another possible reason for Black Friday boycotts is that it not only encourages, but symbolises greed and consumerism. The very day after Thanksgiving – a holiday dedicated to being thankful for what you have – we find shops opening earlier, prices falling lower, mall-brawls turning uglier. All so that we can buy things we perhaps don’t need.