Retailers are gearing up for a bumper Black Friday this year as online giant Amazon announced it would extend its cut price deals from one day to ten days this year.
The American retail phenomenon, which marks the start of the Christmas shopping period and falls the day after Thanksgiving, has grown in popularity in the UK over the past few years, sparking riots at physical stores UK-wide as shoppers battle to get their hands on the best bargains.
Many retailers have already revealed that they will take part in Black Friday this year, with Amazon saying its deals will run from 17 to 26 November.
Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at Stirling University, said: “Everybody loves a bargain, but there may be some sense of consumer fatigue. A lot of people are already saying Christmas comes too early and if deals go on too long, it might feel more of an effort than a celebration.”
The retailer will have new ‘Deals of the Day’ every day throughout the period, ranging from Amazon devices, electronics and pet supplies to kitchen and home & garden items. There will also be thousands of ‘Lightning Deals’ - products available at a discount, in limited quantities, for a short period of time - introduced throughout the sale, with new deals becoming available as often as every five minutes.
Doug Gurr, country manager for Amazon.co.uk, said: “Customers tell us they love getting extra low prices so they can save on their Christmas shopping. This year we have hundreds of small businesses from our Marketplace offering great deals on their unique and creative products, making it even easier to find perfect gifts with our Black Friday sale.”
The discount day, which has been an event on the US retail calendar since 1952, only came to the UK over the past few years, with 2014 marking the first time that the event became biggest online shopping day of the year in the UK.
Many brands saw their websites unable to cope with demand as shoppers snapped up bargains from stores which were unaware that their deals would be so popular.
David Jinks, head of consumer research at courier company ParcelHero, said: ‘As shoppers fled the High Street for the safety of their home and office PCs, many retailers experienced record orders. Black Friday shoppers spent a then-record £810 million online; creating backlogs which overloaded courier networks and crashed into the following Cyber Monday online shopping bonanza.”
However, retail experts have warned that Black Friday deals may not be all they seem. Last year, a Which? investigation found 49 per cent of products “on offer” were actually cheaper in the months before or after Black Friday.
Black Friday falls this year on 24 November.