Black Friday is arguably the day with most sales in the United States and in the United Kingdom. By now, consumers throughout the world have been bombarded with emails announcing “unbeatable prices” this Black Friday. But where does sustainability and the bio market fall into?
Attest, a research firm, released a study that suggests that even those planning to hit Black Friday sales will spend less than they did last year; US consumers spent between $300 and $500 on average. But this year, over a third of people surveyed expect to spend somewhere between $101 and $300.
“It seems that even dedicated Black Friday spenders may be trying to save where they can,” says Jeremy King, CEO of Attest.
However, the consumers are barely at fault here. For businesses, Black Friday is even more important; it is a chance to boost sales amid a difficult trading period.
Nevertheless, the latest data reflects an anti-consumerist trend that has continued to gain traction in recent years. Companies such as Patagonia have been using Black Friday to make a statement about over-consumption, environmental degradation and wastefulness. Patagonia’s now-legendary “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign set the stage back in 2011 and in 2021, they asked their customers to not buy anything new.
Now, it’s not only fashion brands making statements about the Holiday. eBay UK announced a few weeks back that it will only be promoting pre-owned and refurbished items this Black Friday. eBay UK’s general manager Murray Lambell explained the move by stating: “In its current form Black Friday is broken, but it’s not too late to make it relevant for today’s consumer. While it was first introduced to offer consumers big savings ahead of the festive period, it no longer delivers on that same promise of value. For shoppers, it creates a frenzy, with a ‘buying for buying’s sake’ mentality. The cost of living and climate crisis present new parameters as consumer shopping habits continue to change, as we’ve seen a sharp increase in purchases for pre-loved and refurbished.”
But for the businesses that can’t afford these measures, what are some recommendations to minimise their impact?
The first thing is investing in recyclable packaging. Packaging is one of the biggest areas of waste across Black Friday. So investing in 100% recycled and recyclable packaging as well as biodegradable options is perhaps one of the easiest ways to balance additional order volumes.
The second and final recommendation is avoiding next day delivery. Offering a more standard service means you can bulk together lots more parcels and send them all in one go to one area rather than sending little and often. Run offers that are worth waiting for so that your customers don’t mind an extra day or two.
With all of this in mind, the argument could be made that Black Friday is dying a slow death. However, this seems to be partly – if not primarily – attributable to the rising cost of living and the oncoming recession. Environmental awareness seems to play a smaller role.