Opinion: Raise your hand if you remember what Black Friday was like when it started? It’s been around since 2005, starting in the US before spreading to the rest of the world like a tidal wave of discount products.
I remember when Black Friday was regularly referred to as a phenomenon in news reports, and like El Niño weather, those early days caused a fair amount of destruction. People would line the streets to get into the shops, and once inside – well – fistfights, locksmiths, stealing from children and all-out brawls would not be an uncommon sight.
In the UK Black Friday has largely wiped out January sales with Boxing Day effectively, especially since the High Street experience is still a fluke about its former selves and customers are getting things done before the new year.
With the action moving online from traditional stores, the rate of violence has (disappointingly) decreased, but you can make the argument more complex and predictable.
Even though it’s called Black Friday, the deals start as early as the fourth Friday of November. It’s less Black Friday and more Black November (with a little October thrown in, too).
And with the 2022 release, I feel there’s more at stake than in previous years. There is still a pandemic going on, and while rules have been relaxed, rather than Covid restrictions, an economic struggle has occurred in a cost-of-living crisis and demand for ingredients that has far outpaced supply.
Amazon has already had two Prime Day sales events this year, and at the few product launches I’ve attended since the summer, I’ve heard whispers of companies trying to get rid of as much inventory as possible to rid warehouses of old stock so newer products can be brought in for 2023. While people seem to be buying, it’s not as if they’re buying in the same volume as before. Black Friday’s main goal seems to be to speed this up again.
But the deals are arguably not good, or at least not very interesting, with many products popping up over and over again. There will be some bargains to be found, but I feel as if I could guess weeks before the event which products will be promoted because I’ve already seen them go on sale a few times before Black Friday kicks off, or it’s just the same ones carried over from the previous year .
The PS5 may currently be one of the most searched items ahead of the event, but you’re not likely to see discounts on the console itself. Maybe discounts on already expensive packages. Coveted products don’t often get the tastiest discounts.
The excitement and madness of these early Black Friday events is not apparent, as the days after Friday fade away. In the run-up to Black Friday, I’m wondering if having two Prime Day events has dampened some of the interest in Black Friday, as Amazon’s tactical strike means some have already gotten their way.
Gone are the days of brawls on Blaupunkt TV, but I feel like people haven’t freaked out too much about Black Friday. Where once there was excitement, there was a tinge of disappointment. You don’t see those deals where they are so cheap that you feel compelled to buy right away.
Are people over black friday as a sales event? We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks, but if the deals are similar to what’s already been reached, some may start to wonder what Black Friday is all about.