Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become staples of the holiday season around the world.

Since most of us can’t resist a good deal, we often can’t wait for these events to come around. But while some see Black Friday as a bargain-hunting opportunity that marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, a growing group of people (from millennials to French MPs) think these events should be banned. 

And while they can be useful for getting items you need (or want!) on sale, they can also stretch your finances.

This year, according to research by Finder, Black Friday spending in the UK is expected to drop by £900 million, which is 23% lower than a planned spend of £3.9 billion in 2022. But overall, people are expected to spend £3 billion in Black Friday sales. 😱

What do you think? Here’s a look at both sides of the coin. 

How did Black Friday start?

Did you know: the name Black Friday was actually first associated with a financial crisis, not sales shopping? 📉

So why choose a phrase previously associated with stock market crashes to describe a busy shopping day? It’s thought to be because, when shops in the US recorded their accounting details by hand, they noted profits in black and losses in red.

And we can relate! The ‘Black’ in Blackbullion’s name stands for exactly that – being in the black means being in control of your money and on the right side of your balance sheet. 

Back to Black Friday - many retailers started offering big discounts on their products on this day to tempt customers to spend their hard-earned cash – so they could come out of the red and be in the black by the end of the retail year! Now you know.

Cyber Monday is always on the Monday after this and is all to do with online shopping. Since 2005, e-commerce retailers have used this as a chance to earn even more, again offering great deals on their products. You might think £3 billion sounds like a lot - but Cyber Monday 2020 was the biggest US online shopping day in history, with over $10 billion (around £8 billion) spent. 🤯

Nowadays, the sales usually start early on Black Friday and finish at the end of Cyber Monday. But lots of companies offer Black Friday sales for the whole of November (calling it ‘Black November’)!

In 2023, Black Friday is on Friday November 24th, and Cyber Monday is on Monday November 27th. 

Why do people love Black Friday & Cyber Monday?

It’s simple – you can find some incredible discounts on lots of products. People flock to shops far and wide, trying to bag a deal they wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. For some, Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide a chance to buy things they wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. 

Why might these sales not be so good?

Overconsumption

Buying one item in a Black Friday sale can quickly turn into lots more – many of which never get used!

Spending money we don’t have

Some people take out loans or use credit cards to buy items during the sales.

But when the day comes to pay the money back, they might realise they don’t have it. This debt can cause ongoing money problems that affect all areas of their lives.

Injuries & deaths

The desperation to nab a deal has turned people to violence against others – some of which has turned deadly.

Between 2006 and 2020, there were 117 injuries and 14 deaths associated with Black Friday sales and shopping. There’s a website called Black Friday Death Count which tracks all the deaths and injuries associated with the sales.

Environmental impact & exploitation of workers

The more products people buy, the more factories are going to produce. That usually means the burning of fuels – leading to a negative effect on the environment. 🌱

Also, to keep prices low and keep up with demand, workers around the world are often exploited. Sometimes, they’re made to work in poor conditions and with very low pay to meet this increased demand for products. .

Spending money more consciously

Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are very tempting – they can be great opportunities to bag a bargain on something you need/wanted to buy before the sales!

At the same time, many people, especially young people and students, are instead now turning to conscious consumerism, using their money in a way that has a positive environmental, social or economic impact.

Still not sure? Here’s a checklist to help you decide if you want to get involved:

  • Do I really need to buy something in the Black Friday sales, or am I just getting it because it’s on sale?
  • Sometimes, the deals might not actually be that good – it’s rare for a Black Friday price to be the lowest price a product has been sold at, so do your research 🔍
  • To meet the Black Friday & Cyber Monday demand, lots of products have to be created – leading to environmental damage and many workers being exploited
  • There’s no deal so good that it’s worth getting yourself into financial trouble for (there’s lots of help available here if you’re struggling financially).

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