Today marks the day known as Black Friday. For those not familiar with this term, it is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States.

By tradition, this symbolises the start of the Christmas shopping period and although this is not directly relevant to the United Kingdom, its familiarity lies with the Boxing Day tradition we have in terms of shopping patterns. For the US, Black Friday has characteristically become the busiest annual shopping day since 2005.

The name originates from the early 1960’s Philadelphia term used to label the heavy traffic and troublesome pedestrian movement on the day after Thanksgiving. More recently ‘Black Friday’ has become well known as a day that businesses go ‘in the black’, suggesting they have begun turning a profit.

Last year the day saw a £7.1 billion ($11.4bn) consumer spend with the majority of people spending on electronics (40%), toys (30%) and clothing (51%). Consequently, Black Friday is a day seemingly for the benefit of retail companies, but B2B companies mustn’t worry, the end of year shopping period doubles up to their advantage too.

Let’s take a closer look into the basic supply and demand trends, and focus on the positives:

Primarily retail businesses will be soon looking for high levels of stock. With consumer demand rising, it means that retail stores will have to make sure they meet this demand. For a trade company, this could mean tweaking prices to achieve optimal sales and profits around a period of high demand.

For consumers themselves, they have carried the burden of limited spending all year, and have seen much of their disposable income spent on the essentials of commodities like food, fuel and everyday living expenses. Pleasures have been far and few for many, so the opportunity to snap up a bargain during the festive period is going to be a very attractive prospect for the embattled UK consumer who has been surviving the recession. A pre-Christmas period of red hot deals will absolutely fuel demand and have a positive knock on effect for wholesalers, importers and manufacturers.

The key to a profitable trading period is to ensure your product ranges are suited to consumer needs this holiday season, filled with a balance of innovative new products along with tried and tested popular favourites, and to be clear about your unique selling point (USP), which should highlight why customers should purchase from you. It’s likely as always, electronics are highly sought after, but even if you don’t stock the most top end electronics, other stocking fillers and presents will be required.

Black Friday may not be directly an instant selling frenzy for all trade businesses, but the indirect effects on the rise in demand for restocking, the increase in people movement around the country, the start of the holiday shopping period and even the colder weather has its positive influences on B2B products and services alike. For UK B2B businesses, they have recently found many US based firms and UK firms alike now holding Black Friday sales here too, as another way to push sales early to Christmas.

References

McKenna, J. (2011). Where is the B2B Black Friday?. Available: http://blog.cmbinfo.com/bid/71669/Where-is-the-B2B-Black-Friday. Last accessed 23/11/2012.

NBC News. (2012). Black Friday Prediction: Killer Deals on Electronics. Available: http://www.cnbc.com/id/49303400/Black_Friday_Prediction_Killer_Deals_on_Electronics. Last accessed 23/11/2012.

Sortable. (2012). Black Friday Madness (infographic). Available: http://sortable.com/blog/black-friday-infographic/. Last accessed 21/11/2012.

Wikipedia. (2012). Black Friday. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Friday_(shopping). Last accessed 23/11/2012.

Final words

It seems the Black Friday phenomenon is now a successful marketing tactic adopted by both online and offline retailers around the world. What is your business doing to take advantage of Black Friday along with next weeks fast approaching Cyber Monday?