Research this year from Retail Week showed that the consumer appetite for Black Friday bargains might be starting to wane, with only 19% of consumers looking to take advantage of Black Friday promotions, down from 21% last year.
In the card trade, Card Factory is offering some Black Friday deals online with savings on personalised cards and chocolate bars, but many indie card retailers don’t bother with Black Friday. Meanwhile in the indie sector, Mark Janson-Smith, managing director of London-based Postmark shops says: “We don’t personally get involved in Black Friday and find the whole thing a little crazy. Footfall does definitely seem to fall a little bit on the day but we don’t worry too much. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a big ticket retailer on this day as the pressure to reduce prices must be much bigger to compete and at such a vital time of year.”
Amanda Oscroft, co-owner of Love It in Stamford and Bury St Edmunds leaves the Black Friday gimmicks to the big boys as “personally I don’t buy into the hype,” she told PG Buzz. As Amanda pointed out: “When you offer year round good prices on quality goods there isn’t the wiggle room to heavily discount and I don’t believe our customers would be too happy to find out we discounted on just one day.”
Other independents have their own take on Black Friday. In Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, home of Retas-award winning Dragonfly Cards & Gifts, local retailers have got together to launch Bright Friday. Co-owner, Rachael Barnes explains: “I think everyone is starting to get fed up of all the hype with Black Friday. It has now turned into Black Friday week, rather than just a day, which is a bit much. In Knaresborough we have Bright Friday instead, where we have late night opening, a lantern procession followed by the turning on of the tree lights, music and entertainment. It’s a lot less commercial than Black Friday, but we find it gets everyone feeling festive, and starts to focus their thoughts to all things Christmas without seeming so money grabbing.”
Banging the drum for independents is also the Just a Card campaign with its alternative to Black Friday; Indie Friday. Twitter is already humming on the lead-up to Black Friday with a raft of independent artists, designers and retailers using Indie Friday graphics designed by Angela Chick and tweeting using the hashtag #JACIndieFriday.
Sarah Hamilton, founder of the Just a Card campaign said: “It seems our alternative to Black Friday is even more popular than even Just a Card day. We’ve been overwhelmed with enquiries and people saying they’re so thrilled to have an alternative. We’ve been inundated with images made by artists and makers – the numbers are staggering. As Black Friday often marks the start of the festive buying season we need to ensure that those less able to compete can still have an opportunity to thrive and get their work seen.”
In another campaign supporting small business, Sarah Knight, illustrator and founder of Stormy Knight has designed a new graphic for Holly Tucker’s (founder of NotOnTheHighStreet.com) ‘Shop Small’ campaign. The campaign runs up until Christmas and is encouraging people to think about where they spend their cash and to buy from independent shops and makers. “I am really excited to be involved and to see my design starting up the campaign on Holly’s Instagram. I’ve seen it shared so many times and it’s great to see that so people are getting behind the campaign.”