Charles & Keith Fall Winter 2018 Editorial

The countdown to the biggest shopping holiday of the year has begun. There’s no perfect time to indulge in some retail therapy and nab that pair of shoes that you have been eyeing. This year is no exception - Black Friday will hit the high street and online stores, promising massive discounts from top fashion brands.

During this colossal spending frenzy, big-name retailers would slash their prices, offering some knockout deals in the run-up to Christmas. While it’s a given that most of your favourite stores will be part of this huge event, you’ll have to do your homework to make the most of the bargains.

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday originates from the US, which takes place the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving. It’s widely regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season with slashed prices and special store opening hours. The idea of Black Friday has now spread across the world with many other countries also participating in the day, or week of frenzied shopping.

This year, Black Friday falls on 23 November. However, many stores will already be offering deals and discounts in the weeks leading up to the big day. Instead of a one day event, Black Friday is expanding to become a shopping period. Across the globe, retailers begin offering deals on Black Friday that would last all weekend through Cyber Monday – the day dedicated to online shopping. Some would even extend their deals for longer, capitalising on shoppers’ hunger for a good deal. It’s true that we do love a good deal, don’t we?

Why is it called Black Friday?

The day was given its name by the old Philadelphia Police Department's traffic squad. It was used to describe the mayhem that happened when people poured into town on the Friday after Thanksgiving. With an increase in traffic and crowds in Philadelphia’s Centre City, the police started calling the day Black Friday, as they had to work 12-hour shifts to mitigate the madness. Since then, the media got a hold of it and the name was popularised.

On a more positive note, in the 1980s, Black Friday became a term widely used by retailers to refer to the day of the year when retail companies make a profit by finally going “into the black” after being “in the red” for pretty much most of the year. Among shoppers, it became well-known as a day of bargains since the beginning of the 21st century.

Black Friday 2017 by the numbers

According to software company Adobe Analytics, retailers in the US earned $7.9 billion on 24 November 2017, up massively by 29% the year before.

Last year, Black Friday also confirmed that the shopping day has spread from the US to become a global phenomenon. Shoppers in the UK were in the lead outside of the US, spending an estimated £7.8 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On Black Friday alone, a whopping £1.4 billion was spent on online sales in the UK – 11.7% increase seen from the year before, according to IMRG, the online retail association.

Online vs offline shopping

In recent years, it’s becoming clear that Black Friday is increasingly becoming an online shopping event, and not just a brick and mortar event. No matter where you are, you’re able to whip out your mobile and make a purchase. It’s even more convenient if you know exactly what it is that you want, as this can be done in a matter of seconds. Shopping is also made easy when you are able to make comparisons by looking at several different stores quickly. This way, you can always ensure that you are getting some of the best deals possible.

In 2017, Black Friday online sales was a 16.9% increase over $4.3 billion the year before. Through this, it’s evident that a good deal of shopping took place on the websites of physical retailers.

Essential Black Friday shopping tips

Before there was e-commerce, Black Friday meant having to brave heavy traffic and crowds. Dedicated shoppers would queue in line for hours, often before dawn, and claim popular items before they got sold out.

Today, Black Friday is a multi-channel experience. There will still be dedicated shoppers lining up in the dark and waiting on endless checkout lines. So, whether you are shopping at the store, online, or both, follow these tips to get the most out of your Black Friday shopping experience.

1. Preparation is key

If you do know what’s going to be on sale beforehand, it would be easier to check if it is a good deal or not. Before you start spending, do remember to set a budget and stick to it. Sign up for your favourite retailers’ newsletters, ’like’ their Facebook pages and register for Twitter alerts. This way, you’ll be notified of promotions, discounts and some of their hottest deals.

It would also be useful to check out both printed and online ads to compare who is offering the best deals.

2. Research for products that you want

Start making a list of what you will be buying and how much those items are expected to cost. It definitely pays to do research. Do remember to read reviews before purchasing them.

3. Create a budget and stick to it

With all the sales going on during Black Friday, it’s easy to get caught up in the buying excitement. Decide ahead how much time is needed to spend on your shopping spree and try not to buy impulsively, especially if you’re unsure how good the deal is.

4. Shop at home

If you’re not in the mood for long lines and packed parking lots, you can always do your Black Friday shopping online. However, be sure to visit website stores ahead of time to be aware of the deals that will be offered, and for how long.

Do remember these tips to get all geared up for the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping, which can get stressful, manic and overwhelming despite the excitement.

Meanwhile, beat the crowd and check out our Black Friday sale here.