Black Friday now a shopping phenomenon in Europe too

Black Friday, a day of mega promotions imported from the USA, is now very popular in Europe, especially in France and the UK, as consumers seek the best deals for their Christmas gifts, while some have denounced it as an instance of relentless consumerism.

Black Friday is a shopping concept spawned in the USA - AFP

In the USA, the long Thanksgiving week-end usually marks the peak of year-end sales, thanks to the promotions which usually kick off with Black Friday in physical stores and continue online on Cyber Monday.

Last year, Black Friday made history by becoming the first single day to generate $3 billion in online sales on US territory.

Black Friday is now a recognised event also in Europe: in the UK, always quick to import US marketing initiatives, and in France too. According to a report commissioned to the Centre For Retail Research (CRC) by French promotional sales website Poulpeo (part of the RetailMeNot Inc. group), this week-end French consumers are expected to spend €845 million online (+15% compared to 2016), and €4.5 billion in stores (+4%).

According to Amazon, "a pioneer of the event in France," which last Monday kicked off 'Black Friday Week', French consumers have "appropriated" the event, and the majority of them (65%) see it as "the real start of Christmas shopping." So much so that the second half of November is likely to feature a high concentration of purchases.

"We are going to promote a selection of 20,000 first-choice items, with new deals every five minutes," said the General Manager of Amazon France, Frédéric Duval, to the AFP agency.

According to a survey by market research institute CSA for Amazon, while in 2016 only 21% of French consumers stated they were keen to make the most of Black Friday, this year 52% of them are intending to do so.

Some organisations have however spoken out against Black Friday, for example Greenpeace, which warned against the overconsumption of clothes as a source of "serious environmental impact."

Translated by Nicola Mira

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