It’s been a challenging year, and many mental health experts recommend trying to get our little fixes of happiness wherever we can. But is Black Friday shopping a good way to do this? We look at some of the pros and cons in our survival guide below.
Black Friday was originally an American post-Thanksgiving sales event, but has recently become more globally recognised thanks in no small part to extensive marketing by companies like Amazon and other US retailers. Maybe, like me though, you’re thinking 2020 is a chance to take a step back and reset our thinking about the frantic annual battle for a bargain.
Small businesses in a big pond
This year, with so many small businesses feeling the squeeze because of the impact of COVID-19, now more than ever they could do with our support. The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has encouraged us to consider shopping with small businesses whenever we can.
In an article by the Guardian, Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s Chief Executive, added, “Despite the lure of the internet, nothing can beat the positive experience of buying from a local independent retailer knowing that money spent in a local shop will in turn be spent in the local economy. Independent retailers are part of the community and need the support of shoppers now more than ever.”
And just because some retailers are a little smaller, doesn’t mean they won’t have their own offers and incentives running on Black Friday, so check them out before you hand over your hard-earned cash to the retail giants.
Is it really a bargain?
£400 off. Half price. Was £600, now only £200. Retailers advertise price cuts like these on Black Friday, but are they really the bargains they make them out to be? There have been numerous news stories over the last few years about shoppers getting a bit of a shock when they’ve price-checked those big purchases only to find out the savings weren’t quite what they were expecting.
It pays to shop around and compare prices across a good range of different websites or shops. Consumer advice website Which? recommends taking this a step further and using apps like Pricerunner and PriceSpy to check the previous price and the real savings you’re making. Which? tracked the prices of a number of products in the lead up to Black Friday in 2018 and found that deals and savings offered were actually available for the same price or even cheaper in the six months after the sales!
Sleep on it
You often get a little burst of serotonin as you buy something. This coupled with fear of missing out can lead us to make impulse buys we don’t need, particularly on Black Friday. In fact, some retailers count on it!
To avoid ending up with a bag full of guilty purchases, you could put things in your online shopping basket and then come back to them later. Leaving items in there for a day or two will give you time to reflect on whether you really need that £200 drone or another pair of earrings…
Black Friday can be a great opportunity to bag yourself a bargain and make some great savings, especially on big ticket items. But make sure you know what you’re buying and whether it really is a bargain. Share your tips with us so we can all aim not to be left with buyer’s regret come December.