Posted by Matt Egan 27 November 2014
Black Friday feeding frenzy infects the UK
I can remember a time when Black Friday wasn't a big deal in the UK. I can remember it, because it was about two years ago. But Black Friday is a big deal in the UK now. And it won't be going away.
For the uninitiated, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. (You know Thanksgiving: that staple of the movies when our US cousins are thankful for turkey and NFL - two things for which I am personally *very* thankful.) It is, traditionally, the day when US shoppers kick off their annual holiday-spending spree, a day when people generally don't work, and do shop.
As a consequence marketers long since clicked on to the idea that a raft of bargains on Black Friday could give a much needed kick start to the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday is the day in the US when retailers such as Amazon and Apple fire out loss-leading, time-limited bargains, and consumers rush to partake. It's a made up thing, like 'Cyber Monday' (the day in which shoppers splash the most cash online in the build up to Christmas), and designed to fill news broadcasts and develop a feeding frenzy.
Looked at rationally Black Friday is total nonsense. As indeed is the whole rush to buy things before Christmas. Real bargains can be had by choosing to celebrate Christmas on January 25 and buying everything once the hype and nonsense is over. But that's Scrooge talk. Every civilisation in history has needed a big party in the deep of winter, if only to get through the short days and long nights. Without being too philosophical we live in super-capitalist times, and the consumption of stuff is how we celebrate.
And, to be fair, if you are on your toes you can get a good deal.
Black Friday: crossing the pond since 2013
But until this year I've never really felt that UK consumers were interested. Reader, I am here to tell you that this year they are. For the past few years we have published good tech deals of Black Friday on PC Advisor and Macworld UK. It's always proven moderately popular. This year our best Black Friday deals live blogs have constantly been the top stories on both sites. And by some distance.
I'll try to give you some idea of scale: according to Experian Hitwise, PC Advisor and Macworld UK account for roughly .023 of UK internet market share (of every 1,000 visits to the internet in these isles, 23 involve a visit to our sites). And our Black Friday coverage has been around 40 percent of *all* traffic to our sites this week. And it's not even Black Friday yet.
Just counting visits on our own websites and presuming that no-one is using any other sites to source Black Friday deals, around 10 in every 1,000 visits to the web in the UK this week are for Black Friday deals. And as hard as it is to believe, other editorial sites will be getting some of these visits. Amazon, Apple and the rest all of them.
And it's not even Black Friday yet.
Then there are social channels, via which many people garner the latest and best Black Friday deals. If your feeds are anything like mine, you'll have been seeing little but Black Friday deals being shared and reshared all week.
And, again, IT'S NOT EVEN BLACK FRIDAY YET.
Meanwhile I had a conversation in the office today with someone who was asking me what were the best Black Friday deals... and had no idea that today is Thanksgiving. It's here, and here to stay.
Brace yourselves. Over the next few days you will read and hear lots about how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have seen staggering numbers of products shifted from retailer to punter. Whether you think this is the end of days, or a fun annual marker in the build up to Christmas, Black Friday has fully crossed the pond. We are all online consumers now.
Join in the fun with our best tech deals Black Friday, Cyber Monday 2014 UK: Live story for general tech, and Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals & more Apple-specific story.