As Black Friday deals start appearing online and shoppers around the UK prepare for in-store deals. However, several local and independent businesses have raised concerns about the power and impact that the annual end-of-November event holds.
One spokesperson from Cocktail Cosmetics Digbeth described Black Friday as:
“The worst thing possible. It is an American phenomenon which the British have adopted. We keep adopting these traditions.
We’ve done Black Friday in the past, but I don’t agree with it and we won’t be doing it this year.
It has a massive effect on us being independent. Most of my products are imported from America, so we have to pay these costs, and then we are expected to apply massive discounts on top, which is not good for business.”
Black Friday is a day of discounts and online sales which originally began in America, and has now become the biggest shopping day of the year in the United Kingdom.
In 2015, Black Friday was the biggest day of shopping in Britain as £2bn was spent in shops and online in one day.
Big on DIY’s Operations Director Raj Dev said:
“It’s so difficult for small companies like us. As a smaller branded goods distributer, we have to go up against the ‘big boys’ like Curry’s and Amazon.
We can’t really compete with them, but all said we do try, but only partake in Black Friday with certain lines instead of across the board.”
Speaking about the consumer’s perception of Black Friday, Raj Dev commented:
“One of the things about Black Friday is that it is very price driven, you can provide the best service but people are uninterested.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two days of the year people are instead driven by price rather than service. If the price is cheap, they will forego the service for a better price.”
Black Friday is usually a success for larger retail chains due to how these brands can offer huge discounts to customers and promote their offers well.
This is more difficult for smaller businesses as they have to maintain their profit from sales due to not receiving as large an audience, so they struggle to compete at this time of the year. Some businesses, such as Premier AV Centre, benefit in some ways but solely through larger retailers. Speaking to Asid Isad from Premier AV Centre, he said:
“We’re better off as a business due to also selling on Amazon to our customers, so when Amazon is busy, we are busy and it boosts our sales.
We do benefit, but we also do find that the week before Black Friday, we are much quieter as people are holding back until the event, so that affects us.”
This is similar to company Awan International, who is a wholesaler in Birmingham. They also sell their products on Amazon, and speaking to Amer Awon, he said:
“Being a wholesaler, we do not partake in Black Friday in store but we are significant online with Amazon, this is the only benefit so we rely on these retailers.”
In the United States, they have created ‘Small Business Saturday’ to celebrate local merchants.
This encourages shoppers to shop at these independent stores, which gives these retailers a chance to compete against their larger competitors at this time.
It has not yet become a popular tradition in the United Kingdom, but following the success from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this may be a new celebrated day in Britain in the future.