Retail: Dark clouds on Black Friday

A flood of special offers a few weeks before Christmas: With this concept, Black Friday has become one of the most important sales days of the year in Germany in recent years.

Retail: Dark clouds on Black Friday

A flood of special offers a few weeks before Christmas: With this concept, Black Friday has become one of the most important sales days of the year in Germany in recent years. Last year, consumers spent almost five billion euros on Black Friday and the following Cyber ​​Monday, according to the German Retail Association (HDE).

However, in view of the inflation and tight budgets, it is uncertain whether the campaign at the end of November will be able to build on the successes this year. Especially since many consumers fear that the offer could be less attractive this time. After all, retailers are also struggling with rising costs.

The HDE is optimistic: Based on a survey of 1,000 online shoppers about the discount days, it expects a sales record of 5.7 billion euros. That would be 22 percent more than in the previous year.

Especially now

"The growth story of Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday will continue, even under the currently difficult conditions and despite the poor consumer mood," says Stephan Tromp, deputy general manager of the HDE. "Many customers are now even more interested in bargain hunting and want to take advantage of the offers of the two days." The discount days, this year on November 25th and 28th, would now also be used to keep an eye out for Christmas presents. In total, gifts worth 1.7 billion euros could then be bought.

Not all industry insiders are so optimistic. The trade expert Gerrit Heinemann from the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences assumes that retailers will pull out all the stops on Black Friday to save a difficult year. But he has doubts that it will succeed. "All in all, the signs are not so good that another sales record will be set this year," says Heinemann - also because there are still problems in the supply chain.

Retail expert Martin Fassnacht from the WHU business school in Düsseldorf is also skeptical: "People want to keep their money together because of the difficult economic situation. That will also be felt on Black Friday. In the end, sales will be lower than in previous years."

Are hopes still dashed?

Also Nina Scharwenka from the management consultancy Simon-Kucher

Basically, people's interest in Black Friday is still high. According to a representative survey by management consultancy PwC, for which more than 2000 people were interviewed, despite inflation and tight budgets, a good two-thirds want to go bargain hunting around Black Friday - as many as in the previous year.

But their shopping habits have changed. On the one hand, consumers are more reluctant to spend money, says PwC retail expert Christian Wulff. "On the other hand, they want to make conscious use of the special offers around Black Friday 2022 because they assume that the price spiral will continue."

Only buy what you need

According to the survey, almost 40 percent of bargain hunters only want to buy what they need. One in five wants to buy less because of the circumstances. A similar number of bargain hunters prefer to visit cheap retailers and online shops or look specifically for inexpensive products such as private labels or used items.

Around 40 percent of consumers fear that the Black Friday offers will be less attractive than in previous years. Just as many anticipate that certain products will be unavailable due to supply issues. Almost a third expect that fewer retailers will take part in the discount battle, as they too are struggling with rising costs.

According to Simon-Kucher, the bargain hunters have also prepared well this year. Around 70 percent had already observed the prices of the items they were interested in in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.

This approach is actually recommended. Because a study by the price comparison portal Idealo, for which the price development of around 10,000 products from 1,000 categories was analyzed, shows: real bargains are rare even on Black Friday. On average, the offers last year were just five percent cheaper than in the month before the campaign.

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