Since its introduction to the UK by Amazon in 2010, Black Friday has snowballed, with spending in 2015 exceeding £1 billion.
This looks set to increase further in 2016 as the occasion morphs into a five day online shopping frenzy from Thursday through to Cyber Monday.
For many, the annual sale event represents an opportunity to make some terrific savings in the run up to Christmas on goods that they would otherwise have bought at full price. However, research released today by environmental charity Hubbub indicates that Black Friday is contributing to the financial strain people are feeling across Britain.
The issue is particularly acute for younger generations, with four in ten people under 35 saying the hype around Black Friday makes them feel pressured to join in, compared with only one in ten of the over 55s.
Half of this younger group felt that Black Friday encouraged them to buy things they don’t need and 45% reported they had spent money they couldn’t afford because there was a sale on.
Despite this month’s worrying statistics on the growing level of household debt in the UK, seven out of ten under-35s said they had bought items on sale and never used them and six in ten have shopped in a sale and regretted it afterwards.
Hubbub is responding to these concerning findings by launching their #BrightFriday campaign, which presents alternative ways for people to spend their Black Friday to avoid the pressure to buy things they might not want or need.
As 96% of people said they’d rather spend a free day doing something other than shopping, #BrightFriday invites people to pledge what they will do instead of taking part in Black Friday.
With clothes and shoes topping the list of items that people regret buying, the campaign also encourages people to think about rekindling their love for clothes they already have through creating new outfits without buying new, by restyling or refashioning wardrobe gems and borrowing or swapping with friends.
Trewin Restorick, Founder and CEO of Hubbub said:
“It’s a real concern to see the pressure that people feel to join in with Black Friday when so many are already in debt.
“We’re keen to reassure people it’s OK to opt out and do something more enjoyable instead – spend time with friends or try something new. The best moments in life can be made, not bought.”
The movement has gained support from a wide range of public figures, from Baroness Young of Hornsey and Caroline Lucas MP to fashion designer Christopher Raeburn and stylist Emma Slade Edmondson.
Fashion designer Christopher Raeburn said, “Considered thinking, action and purchasing are paramount obligations to make a positive change and that’s why we’ll be supporting the #BrightFriday initiative”
Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Sustainability and Transport Committee said:
“An art installation is an exciting and effective way to promote a serious message, and reducing waste and encouraging recycling are among the council’s biggest priorities.
“Therefore, when Hubbub approached us for a donation of recycled textiles, we were very happy to help! I hope the #BrightFriday initiative will help encourage residents to think before they buy, avoid expensive mistakes and encourage them to re-use and recycle.”
Hubbub also campaigned to save Halloween pumpkins and currently have giant coffee waste bins across Manchester city centre.