Düsseldorf (dpa) – Internet discount battles and shopping street bargain hunting: Black Friday has become one of the busiest commercial days in German retail in recent years.
But this year everything could be very different. In inner cities, the partial blockade threatens to torpedo the desire to search for bargains. And even on the internet, the willingness to spend this year could be significantly lower than before due to the pandemic.
A recent survey by management consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners showed that this year only half of consumers plan to go bargain hunting on Black Friday or the following Cyber Monday. A year ago, two-thirds of consumers planned to do this. And the planned shopping budget collapsed in the crisis of the Crown: on average, this year “only” 205 euros are allocated to purchases on Black Friday. A year ago it was 242 euros.
A survey by the Idealo price comparison portal does not bode well for the day of the discount. According to this, two-thirds of consumers do not want to participate in Black Friday this year or at least want to spend less money than last year.
But not everyone is so pessimistic. The German Association of Retailers (HDE), for example, even forecasts a new sales record of around 3.7 billion euros for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. That would be an increase of about 18 percent compared to the previous year.
In fact, many retailers are trying harder to attract customers this year than in the past. The initial shot for bargain hunting went off even earlier than usual. Amazon has been luring people in with “Black Friday early deals” since late October. Electronics chains Saturn and Media Markt promised their customers a full “Black November” and even weeks before the actual date, Zalando featured reduced Black Friday deals on its home page.
The fact is, retailers in city centers in particular might need a little extra advertising because of the discount day. Fashion retailers, jewelry stores, and bookstores can remain open even at partial closure. But many customers have lost the will to go shopping amid rising infections and restaurant closures.
Since the closure of restaurants and crown-related leisure activities, the frequency of patrons in city centers has plummeted again. The president of the Textile Trade Association (BTE), Steffen Jost, has already complained: “Currently, most companies are making losses every day because sales do not even cover the costs incurred.”
But Black Friday is unlikely to change that much. In the Simon-Kucher & Partners survey, 57 percent of consumers stated that they want to buy predominantly or exclusively online. Consequently, only 14 percent want to go shopping.
Discount days at the end of November are traditionally dominated by online trading in Germany. “This trend will intensify this year when the discount campaign falls at the time of the crown-related partial lockdown,” predicted PwC retail expert Christian Wulff. Because a shopping spree is much less attractive given the closed cafes and restaurants. Additionally, the mask requirement and fear of infection spoil the fun of bargain hunting in city centers.
“Everything that took place in the priceless Black Friday in-store campaigns in previous years (the style of a special event, the glass of sparkling wine) is sadly hardly possible this year,” says expert Simon Kucher , Nina Scharwenka. .
But it is certainly not a mistake for consumers to keep a cool head on trading day anyway. Because according to a price analysis by Idealo, the average price savings on campaign day in 2019 was only 8 percent. While there were above-average discounts on Black Friday, not all of the specials were as good as they seemed. Distributors often calculated their discounts based on the recommended retail price (RRP) rather than using the actual market price as the benchmark, which is often far below, Idealo expert Michael Stempin explained.
His recommendation: If you want to get real bargains, you should not focus on Black Friday, but rather keep an eye on the prices of the desired products for a longer period of time.