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Black Friday fades to grey


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Diario de Noticias and Diario Montañés

Goretti Cabaleiro

Lecturer at School in Economics

According to a Christmas Consumer Study offered by Deloitte, this year Black Friday will account for 32.7% of the total budget spent by a family on Christmas shopping. No more and no less than six points more than last year's figures. As is already known and with a worldwide extension, Black Friday is a commercial event imported from the USA. -It first appeared in the 1970s and arrived in Spain in 2012. It inaugurates the shopping season with a view to the Christmas period. Nine out of ten companies in our country annually join this initiative that takes place on the last Friday in November and which, in theory, is characterised by significant sales in many retail shops and department stores. But that is just a theory. 

When one delves into the term Black Friday, it has many meanings. But mainly the background of the event has a capital goal : to balance the profit and loss accounts of those companies that, for the most part, are in the red because they have not sold enough during the year and make the consumer believe that they are going to make aggressive discount policies. And in this make believe is the core topic: for the companies it is undoubtedly black, because they return to the black digits making those red numbers that haunted them until recently disappear, but for the consumer this black fades in many cases to grey. One only has to look at some of the figures offered by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) to support this assertion.  

Since 2015, a month before Black Friday kicks off, the OCU has been collecting and analysing more than 28,000 prices daily for a total of 1,260 products to check whether they go up, down or stay the same. And the conclusions are there: without going any further, last year only 3.4% of the products monitored reached their best price on Black Friday. And one more fact that demystifies the idea of a discount: in general terms, prices were 2.6% more expensive on that day than in previous weeks. 

Moreover, what started as a one-day campaign has become an event that has been extended to the previous week. Continuing with data, with regard to Black Week the OCU found last year that only 18.8% of the monitored products obtained their lowest price in that last week of November, that 27.5% of the products increased their price, and that, overall, prices rose by 0.5% between 23 and 29 November 2020. 

Black is not so black. We are now entering what we could call Grey Friday or Grey Week, where the benefits for large companies, but not so much for small ones and even less for the consumer, are notorious. Moreover, this year, companies have it much easier: in the midst of the supply crisis, the population is on alert to get hold of some items as soon as possible for fear of a lack of stock. In this generalised nervousness, companies have been ahead of the times and have seen an opportunity to start a meteoric degree program to reach the consumer first.