Maybe it was the wind and rain that kept UK shoppers at home on Black Friday. But I suspect it had more to do with Black Friday over-run.
With deals available in store and online from the preceding Monday and widely available for a full seven days (some being available even longer), shoppers could be forgiven for their lack of urgency, excitement or belief in the whole bargain fandango.
If you read my pre-Black Friday blog, you’ll know that I wasn’t very enthused with the concept, and it seems that I wasn’t alone. As it happens, I ventured into Oxford city centre on Friday. Parking space – tick. A lovely lunch – tick. Crowded shops – not a bit of it.
Official figures from retail analyst Springboard (and featured here in The Guardian) said that footfall across the UK had fallen 9.6% on the same weekend last year. Numbers at retail parks, however, were up, possibly reflecting an increase in online sales and the increasing preference for click and collect.
In the main, reports to date are recording more online activity with the high street floundering. It is, they say, a change in shopping behaviours.
I’m inclined to think, however, that while online shopping and weather are in part responsible, it was a serious misjudgement to extend Black Friday offers beyond the 24 hour period.
Marketing and events need to make an impact. They shouldn’t run the risk of becoming background noise.
The clue is in the name. Special offers need to be …. Special. Otherwise the event should be re-badged ‘Black November And Early December’.