Black Friday – the fourth Friday in November – comes the day after the US holiday of Thanksgiving and traditionally marks a surge in high street Christmas shopping, with the corresponding event of Cyber Monday marking a red-letter date for online marketing after the same weekend.
Despite being an American holiday, in recent years more UK retailers have hopped on the Black Friday bandwagon with incredible prices on strictly limited deals, leading to headline-grabbing scrums.
But in the unique economic circumstances of 2016, what are the prospects for Black Friday deals and online marketing for Cyber Monday?
Some brands are already setting out their intentions to avoid offering any deals at all – in fact dryrobe, an international manufacturer of a poncho-like garment that offers warmth and privacy to surfers while changing out of their wetsuit, have specifically opted out this year.
“We are closing our office and giving the staff a paid day off on Friday the 25th November,” their website reveals. “We will be spending the day outside.”
A report from Verdict Retail suggests many of the big brands are unlikely to go all-in for Black Friday either, with weak sales forecasts for Christmas and a reluctance to offer discounts on items many people would buy in December anyway.
Patrick O’Brien, content director at Verdict Retail, said: “Retailers will attempt to hold their nerve and place less emphasis on Black Friday this year, as experience has shown that it brings forward sales that would have otherwise been made at full price.”
What does this mean for online marketing? Well, while many retailers might not be allocating budgets to Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, those PPC positions, website ad placements and organic traffic are still out there.
Essentially this creates a lucrative opportunity for those who are still willing to drop prices or offer other incentives in a less competitive Black Friday and Cyber Monday season.
By carefully adjusting your online marketing in the coming weeks, you may be able to attract a larger share of this potential traffic and make extra sales without dropping prices too far overall – avoiding the worst of what dryrobe have called “the insanity” but still capitalising on a red-letter date on the retail calendar in the run-up to Christmas.