Artem Beliaikin

This week I’m putting my own self discipline tactics into the hype around Black Friday.

Here in the UK, even as recent as 5 years ago, Black Friday was just not really a thing. Over the last half decade it has really snowballed and it seems that every retailer is offering some form of discount around this period.

Yesterday was my son’s birthday. I bought him a Nintendo Switch. I had toyed with the idea of giving him money and then waiting 48 hours until the Black Friday deals started to bag the discounts on offer. When some items out there are discounted by 40-50% it seems sensible to wait.

Yet I didn’t have to wait. Retailers have got wise to us stalling on purchases in the first few weeks of November and the electrical store I purchased the console from gave me the option to register my purchase before today and if the device reduces in price between today and next Friday, I can claim the difference.

Sounds like a lot of hard work to me! But better than getting caught up in the queues and the purchasing madness.

But of course, what have I done this morning? I’ve gone onto their store website and I’ve checked the price to see if I can claim a bit back. Looks like the price has remained the same so no rebate coming my way.

While looking on this website though it struck me just how many deals there are. My silly brain sees all the savings and thinks “Wow that’s a bargain” and before I know it I’m hovering over TVs, interactive light bulbs and a steam iron. All of which we already own and there’s no need to upgrade or spend for the sake of spending.

That’s the deal with Black Friday.

It is all well and good knowing what you want to purchase. Some people head into this third week of November and have a list of gifts for loved ones for Christmas. They budget for this time and use this week to get their Christmas shopping at a reduced price.

Self Discipline with the Deals

For the unorganised amongst us (like me) this Black Friday period requires a certain amount of discipline. I am trying hard not to be lured by the sweet excitement of money saving on things I really don’t need. I am actively trying to avoid the hype and excitement.

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A 2018 Clicktale research report, “Stress Shopping, The Relationship Between Stress and Shopping in the Age of Digital Experiences” reveals, for example, that young people (those aged 16–24 years) are likely to use shopping as a way to relieve stress, with 62% now stress shopping either on or offline — more than any other age group. The study also reveals that 46% of consumers shop to distract themselves when they’re hungry. So it may come as no surprise that 76% of retailers believe that consumers are fundamentally irrational in their purchase decisions.

Yet we are very rational in our purchases around Black Friday deals. Discounts = a feeling of winning. Of cheating the system. We’ve all felt that rush of pleasure when we’ve bagged a bargain before. It makes us feel like we’ve got something valuable for less and therefore we have won as consumers.

According to PWC’s annual report and predictions for Black Friday, shoppers in the UK are increasingly cynical towards the deals available. Of those spending less this year, 29% claim that the deals aren’t exciting and 20% believe that deals aren’t genuine. With ‘promotions’ now lasting a month or longer, or showing no significant discount compared with the rest of the year, these results are of little surprise.

Away from the UK, shoppers in the other countries surveyed excitedly plan Black Friday spending in advance, with many planning before November (e.g. 50% South Africa, 42% Ireland, 39% France). In the UK, 30% of UK shoppers wait until the day to decide what to buy, suggesting that the novelty of the event is no longer there.

Novelty or not, some questions to ask yourself before a purchase this week;

  • Do I REALLY need this?
  • How will this enhance my life?
  • Can I really afford it?
  • Am I shopping for the thrill or is this something that will benefit me?

Have a great Black Friday week and happy Thanksgiving to our readers in USA for next week.

Have a fantastic weekend,

Gem