The boycott Black Friday movement
Now that the dust has settled on this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has the retail event had its day?
Despite big retailers reporting bigger sales than ever before, this Black Friday seems to have provoked a shift in thinking, with many brands and campaign groups pushing for a total Black Friday boycott.
Interestingly, the price comparison site Which? found that a large majority of the Black Friday deals were actually available at the same knock-down prices at different times of the year. It found that as many as 95% of products on sale during Black Friday 2018, which included popular tech, home and personal care products, were available for the same price or cheaper in the six months after the event.
The research found the same findings for Cyber Monday, reporting that 74% of products could be picked up for the same price or less in the six months afterwards. And, whilst it might be expected that products naturally fall in value over time, the same survey found that 61% of products had also been the same price or even cheaper in the six months before Black Friday. Only four of the 83 products tracked were at the cheapest price on Black Friday itself.
Protesting Black Friday
Across the world this year there has also been major protests against Black Friday and in support of anti-consumerism and the protection of the environment.
Activists across Europe staged protests outside the online retailer Amazon’s buildings, protesting against pay, conditions and overproduction, which they claim is killing the planet. French activists protesting in the capital Paris, claimed that Black Friday is the epitome of US-style capitalism gone wrong. A manifesto of the protesting groups read: ‘The planet burns, oceans die, and we still want to consume, consume and therefore produce, produce – until we eradicate all living things? We will not betray our children for a 30% off discount”.
Many brands, keen to stay on the good side of the empowered consumer and present environmentally-minded values also decided to deliberately boycott the event. For example, beauty company Deciem which owns cosmetic brand ‘The Ordinary’ called for a ‘moment of nothingness’ and closed down all of its stores and took down its entire website on Black Friday. The brand’s Instagram statement said “hyper-consumerism poses one of the biggest threats to our planet, and flash sales can often lead to rushed purchasing decisions driven by the fear of a sell-out. We no longer feel that Black Friday is an earth-friendly event”.
These moves appear to be concurrent with a rising feeling amongst both consumers and brands to take a stand on environmental issues and reject mass consumerism.
When it comes to Black Friday, it seems that the overall sentiment is changing, and the event might finally be falling out of favour. In its place, there will perhaps be a place for more considered, and conscious style of consumerism.