Consumption: Black Friday: Are there attractive discounts in the year of crisis?

The countdown is running.

Consumption: Black Friday: Are there attractive discounts in the year of crisis?

The countdown is running. Websites like www.blackfriday.de are already counting down the hours until the big day. Black Friday falls on November 24th this year and marks the start of Black Week.

But the campaign actually started a long time ago, and in many cases it extends to half of November. Amazon, Otto, Saturn and other retailers have launched a Black Friday advance sale and offer reduced prices for game consoles, computers, washing machines and coffee machines and much more a week or two in advance.

Retailers are staging Black Friday as a lavish festival of consumerism, but the omens are not good this year. The name of the day of action, which commemorates the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange in 1929, is unintentionally current. Pandemic, wars, inflation: After the difficult years, retailers are particularly dependent on high sales, but many people are not in the mood to buy. Can the campaign still be a success?

Men want to spend more than women

The potential is great. According to a representative survey by management consultancy PwC, 70 percent of Germans want to specifically search for offers on the days surrounding Black Friday. They therefore want to spend an average of 281 euros, which is eight euros less than last year. At 331 euros, men are significantly more willing to buy than women (234 euros). According to market researchers at NielsenIQ, consumers in Germany spent more money last year than in France, Great Britain, Italy or Spain.

Black Friday has its origins in the USA. There, the bridge day after Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, marks the start of the Christmas business. In 2013, the Black Friday brand was trademarked in Germany, grew continuously and is now firmly established. For retailers, Black Friday is, alongside the Christmas business, the most important sales event of the year, and the fourth quarter has the highest sales.

Retail expert Martin Fassnacht from the WHU business school sees the pressure this year particularly on the retailers' side. He expects particularly large price reductions. "The dealers have to do more convincing because people are a bit stingy right now. That's why the discounts have to be particularly good."

For retailers, preparations for Black Friday begin when customers are far from thinking about it. The shipping giant Otto begins planning in late summer. Together with logistics partners, daily forecasts are created and order volumes are estimated in order to be able to plan how many vehicles and temporary workers are needed, according to a company spokeswoman. Compared to normal times, four times the storage capacity is required.

DHL expects eleven million shipments

The discount campaigns bring full order books to the parcel industry. Market leader DHL expects to transport more than eleven million shipments on some days in the week after Black Friday. The shipment volume is therefore 50 percent higher than the weekly average for the year so far.

According to a survey by the retail research institute IFH Cologne, one in three people want to spend less this year than last year. The German trade association expects sales of 5.8 billion euros on the days surrounding Black Friday - that would be an increase of three percent. In 2022, sales increased by 20 percent compared to the previous year. "Retailers cannot do without the day. But Black Friday will no longer be able to save this year. The consumer climate is too bad for that," says retail expert Gerrit Heinemann from the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.

For many people, the prospect of getting at least some of their Christmas presents four weeks before the holiday is still tempting. 71 percent of Germans want to take advantage of the bargain days in the PwC survey. Electronic devices (40 percent) and clothing (33 percent) are particularly popular. According to the surveys, the discount must be at least 38 percent to be particularly good.

74 percent want to buy online

With November 24th approaching, it's hard to miss Black Friday. The large video boards on the main streets of the cities have been advertising the bargains for days. Online retail is once again at the forefront this year. According to the PwC study, 74 percent want to go shopping online, only 24 percent want to go offline and in-store. Nevertheless, classic retail has its advantages. The consumer advice center warns of an increased risk of falling for a dubious online shop on promotional days.

Experts see the risk of a buying frenzy effect due to the large number of offers. Online retailers used red bars that supposedly show dwindling inventory or expiring clocks to put buyers under pressure. The consumer advice center advises setting price limits, using price comparison portals and keeping a cool head.

But consumers have at least one advantage on Black Friday. You can simply ignore the bargain day and its hype if necessary. This is much more difficult for retailers. They could hardly afford to boycott the campaign, says expert Fassnacht.

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