No crowd and no queues- a quiet start on the streets for Black Friday, but online sales set to rocket
It was just like any other Friday on one of Dublin’s main shopping streets early this morning, with no visible queues ahead of shops opening for Black Friday.
While the American-style Black Friday sales appeared to get off to a slow start on the high street this morning, some consumers still chose to hit the shops early.
Sadhbh Dolan from Stillorgan, a regular Black Friday shopper, hit Henry Street shortly after 8am this morning, preferring to grab an in-store bargain.
“I’ve been doing this for the last few years and I prefer coming into town, having a look and spotting things that I might not have seen online,” Ms Dolan told Independent.ie.
“I think for the retailers, Black Friday gets people out. Particularly with high street retailers, they have to compete with online and they need people to get out, so it’s good for business and getting people into town.”
According to Retail Ireland, shops are becoming increasingly wary of the benefits of having big Black Friday sales.
“Consumers are now expecting deep discounts of as much as 50pc on a wide range of products,” said Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke.
“But retailers are increasingly reluctant to engage in such deep discounting for fear that they are merely displaying sales that would otherwise happen later in the Christmas shopping period at more normal price levels.“
Local market sellers on Henry Street said they had noticed that traffic was less busy this morning compared to previous Black Friday events, crediting online shopping for the physical absence on the streets.
While Black Friday might not have the same impact for retailers in Ireland as it does in the US, many Irish retailers will find themselves gearing up for a leg of digital shopping after the weekend on Cyber Monday.
“Online is the fastest growing retail channel at present and while it still only accounts for a small portion of total retail sales, retailers are increasingly looking to it to drive growth in their businesses,” Mr Burke said.
“Irish consumers spent €4.6 billion online in the last quarter, and full year online sales are likely to top the €15.8 billion spent in 2017.
“The recent announcement by Enterprise Ireland of a €1.25 million support scheme aimed at supporting small retailers establish and upweight their online presence was most welcome, but more must be done to support indigenous businesses move into the online world.”
Jacob Kellett from Lucan, who was out shopping in Dublin this morning, said he’s noticed that some products are cheaper online during the sale week.
“I’m a shopaholic, I shop all the time anyways, I’d shop in both online and in shops,” he said.
“Depending on what people are looking for, you can get some things cheaper online in places that you can’t in town. But it’s handier to go into shops sometimes because you don’t have to wait for shipping.”
- Read more: 'We can’t compete with the massive discounts' - independent retailers on the challenges they face on Black Friday