Saturday 24 August 2019

'I don’t think it was out of this world' - Black Friday sales fail to live up to 'record' hype

There are bargains online and in-store on Black Friday. Stock Image
There are bargains online and in-store on Black Friday. Stock Image

Mary McDonnell

Black Friday didn't quite live up to the hype that was generated in the run-up.

Retailers were expecting a spike in sales compared to last year but a poll of readers revealed just a third of those asked bagged a Black Friday bargain while over half of readers said they "weren’t bothered with Black Friday at all". 

While most years there are reports of American shoppers stampeding into shops, trying to get their hands on a bargain, Irish shoppers were much more reserved.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce spokesman, Graeme McQueen said retailers are "quietly optimistic" coming up to Christmas in the aftermath.

He told "I don’t think anybody’s really jumping up and down (about it). I don’t think it was out of this world. I think everyone’s reasonably happy.

"I think it was a bit of hype (leading up to it), that it’d be extraordinary. Consumers are strategic. The evidence is they picked out what they wanted and got it."

On Friday, there were queues of motorists spotted at Topaz garages around the country eager to get a Black Friday bargain on fuel which was on sale for 99c a litre at selected garages for 99 minutes.

Topaz had extra staff working at 17 locations to meet the expected increase in demand. And both Bord Gáis Energy and Just Energy offered discounts to mark the US-inspired, price-cutting shopping day.

Tayto Park, Aer Lingus, Littlewoods, DID Electrical and a host of other brands and stores jumped on the bandwagon with some rolling out discounts all weekend.

Mr McQueen said, however, that Irish shoppers are far from becoming like the hard-core bargain hunters that hit the shops on Black Friday in the States.

He said: "There were reports of small queues [on Friday], especially in the evening after work. But there was nothing mad, no fighting in the aisles or anything like that. I think we’re more reserved. It might be the legacy of recession – we’re more considerate of how we spend money. I think we’re different to America."

He added that "Black Friday is here to stay."

He said: "I think retailers will use it as a tool to get people into shops. Retailers I spoke to saw really strong activity on websites.

"Consumers are very reserved in what they buy this year. I don’t think we’re seeing anything like what’s happening in America."

He said store owners he spoke to think it’s "shaping up to be a good Christmas" and that while the queues were like nothing seen in the US, it was their busiest day of the year.

"(They’re) cautiously optimistic," he said.

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