The phrase “Black Friday” spirals consumers across the world into a manic state of excitement. The prospect of a bargain sends hundreds and thousands of shoppers to queue outside stores in the early hours of the morning ready to tackle the sales (and anybody who might get in their way) with relentless ferocity. We’ve all seen the terrifying images that circulate the internet after every thanksgiving — the ones with teeth baring adults hurling bodies and limbs out of their way to get the last box off the shelf — and wonder whether the 4am alarm and aisle sprints were really worth it.
We think it all sounds too much like hard work (and a little scary) so it’s no surprise that an increasing number of consumers are opting to do their Black Friday shopping online this year. Times are changing in the retail world, and shoppers have taken the reins of consumerism to control when they want to shop, by which channel, and how (and when) they want to receive their purchase. This is particularly prevalent on days like Black Friday, when shopping from your sofa eating left-over turkey whilst waiting for the delivery man to ring the doorbell sounds a lot more appealing than facing those scary people mentioned above. To help make your Black Friday a little more enjoyable, we’ve put together a summary of the benefits of steering clear of the malls and high streets and doing all of your Black Friday shopping online this year:
1. It’s quicker
Going in-store on Black Friday is a mammoth task. It requires a carefully planned strategy; locating your desired products, navigating your way through the crowds in the hope that nobody gets there first, and assessing queue sizes to determine which will get you out of there the fastest. Despite all of this, it’s still likely to take at least several hours until you make it out of those shop doors. Most online retailers have streamlined the online shopping experience to just a few clicks or taps, meaning you can have your Black Friday shopping completed in a matter of minutes.
2. It’s less stressful
Waking up at 5am to push through crowds, heaving your shopping basket around and fighting your way to the front of the checkout queue is stressful for even the most patient of people. Shopping online eliminates these hassles, and aside from the occasional pop-up ad, you can shop freely and without disturbances from the comfort of your home.
3. You can research before you buy
Shopping online allows you to set the speed of your purchase decisions, giving you time to research buys and look for the best deal via online comparisons. On Black Friday 2015, nearly half of smartphone and tablet users (45.4% and 47.4% respectively) used their devices to research items in their shopping carts before committing to a purchase. When engulfed in the craziness of shopping in-store, this kind of leisurely purchasing decision is not always an option.
4. You’re more likely to get what you’re looking for
A lot of consumers who take part in Black Friday are intending to buy specific items that they know are on sale. Bricks-and-mortar stores only have a limited amount of space in their storerooms for extra stock, so once they’ve sold out, chances are that’s it. Online stores are selling stock directly from their warehouses which have much bigger floor space, so it’s likely that their volume of stock is higher. If an online store runs out of stock, all you have to do is type your item into a search engine and see who else is selling it.
Whilst the Black Friday phenomenon has grown from the craziness of bricks-and-mortar stores, the reasons listed above make it hard to deny the attractiveness of staying firmly planted in your armchairs on the 25th, clicking and tapping your way through the offers. Whatever your preference, there’s every reason to believe Black Friday 2016 will surpass all previous records and maintain its position as our favourite shopping bonanza.