Don’t get carried away by Black Friday

Last year police were called in to help high street retailers break up scuffles between shoppers on Black Friday.
This year the date falls on November 27, and some online retailers and high street chains, including Asda, have admitted that they won’t be going all out to capitalise on this annual consumer feeding frenzy.
On the one hand, retailers shift significantly more merchandise than usual – last year John Lewis revealed that the Black Friday week had been its biggest trading week on record.
However, some retailers are starting to question whether it is commercially viable to give so much emphasis and discount so heavily just on a single day. Given that sales at the end of November 2014 seemed to cannibalise Christmas spending, many sellers found they had simply sold Christmas goods at discounted prices.
What’s more, shoppers appeared to be more savvy – targeting retailers for a particular item and showing no evidence of being loyal to that shop or store in the future.
No wonder retailers are wondering whether it is all really worth it, especially with the fights that break out in the electronics sections and the high probability that their website will crash under the strain of trying to process thousands of extra transactions.
For the smart shopper, Black Friday may be an opportunity to buy a large or high-value item that you have coveted for some time.
If you are thinking of using the sales frenzy in a fortnight’s time to get your big-ticket item then here are my top tips:
1. Research your product now – not all sales offer better value and shopping around might save you the hassle of trying to buy on the day.
2. Think about how you are going to fund the purchase – depending on your credit card’s interest-free period, you may get hit by your first instalment just after you have spent heavily on the Christmas festivities.
3. Plan what you are going to buy, and don’t get carried away. Bargains are not really good value if you buy something you didn’t really want or need.
4. Be mindful of your own psychology. Just because everyone else seems to be spending freely without thought doesn’t mean you need to join in. Resist the impulse to join the frenzy.
5. Don’t get hung up on the date. There are plenty of good deals around at present – for example at Boots, Argos and Worldstores – which offer three for two or discounts. These may be just as useful if you start to buy your Christmas presents now.

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