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Death of the High Street? Black Friday “Ghost Towns” Reported

November 24, 2017, 4:00 PM
  • High Streets empty on Black Friday as shoppers go online
  • Online sales overtake for the first time
  • JOHN LEWIS website crashes at start of Black Friday sale
  • BUT fewer sales on the day because of long run-up
Shopping centres were barren this morning when Black Friday started. Image: Getty Images

British High Streets have been reported to be “Ghost Towns” on Black Friday.

Many high street stores are taking part in the sale event but consumers are shopping online instead.

Leading accountancy firm PwC estimates online shopping has now overtaken the high street.

Retailers have reported fewer people shopping in store, but a huge boost in their online sales in the lead up to the savings event.

In previous years, shoppers have queued for hours to get into stores for the Black Friday deals, and have even got into fights over discounted products. But this year, things have been much quieter:

Bargain-hunter Eleanor Parr shared this picture of an empty Currys PC World just minutes after it opened in Westfield Stratford

Some shocking scenes in Tesco even saw people queueing in an orderly fashion, rather than racing to get deals like in previous years.

Left: Asda customers fighting over TVs in 2014. Right: scenes in Tesco this morning were much quieter.

Retailers opened hours earlier than normal but were not met by the usual crowds.

A shopping centre in Birmingham was virtually deserted at midday

It has been predicted that the majority of people will shop online rather than heading to the shops.

A survey by PwC estimated that online has now overtaken in-store shopping for Black Friday in every age group.

60% of over 60s plan on staying in and shopping online, and only 25% of under 25s will head to stores for the deals.

Online spending alone has been predicted to reach £1.15 billion on Black Friday, with up to £1.7 million being spent every minute at peak times.

This has been reflected by both GAME and John Lewis’ websites crashing just minutes after beginning their official online savings due to the large amounts of people trying to grab a bargain.

John Lewis’ website crashed from a high demand

Argos, who began their Black Friday savings on Thursday evening, reported a record number of visits online, with more than 800,000 people visiting the site in the first hour, and two million visits in the first four hours.

Although online shopping is set to be more popular this year, Black Friday has also kicked off to a slow start online compared to previous years.

The number of shoppers online between the hours of midnight and 7am, where most online retailers begin their details, fell by 24% on last year, after an 11% rise in shopping during the week.

Experts believe that days of early deals have made killed the buzz of the sales day itself.

Chris Boaz, head of marketing at e-commerce trends service PCA, said, “The longer sales period has shifted the emphasis away from Black Friday being a major retail event in its own right, and towards becoming a part of a pre-Christmas mini-season, or ‘golden quarter’ for retailers.”

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk said, “This year has been a little bizarre for Black Friday. It started with TK Maxx pretending it was doing the sale from the beginning of November when in fact it was the same prices. You then had Currys launching a fortnight before the actual event, and then everyone else quickly copying and doing ‘why wait?’ deals. A quick price comparison revealed these weren’t in fact good prices and most consumers were being duped.

“Our community of bargain hunters experienced an earlier rise in Black Friday spending. Compared to last year, it was less of a giant peak and more of a gentle slope. Still, it’s been very exciting to find the genuine good deals.”

PhilipMarcover a year ago

Black Friday's, Cyber Monday's and whatever sort of special event for lower prices tend to have its prices hiked up and then the retailers pretend to knock down some value off it.

If there's no good deals during those times, just wait after or when the prices are normalized (no one expects until it's pointed out).

Ceebersover a year ago

I have to say I did see some deals, but nothing was so tempting for me to part with my cash. I tend to be a pretty savvy shopper and I generally do not get sucked in to the dazzle and spectacle of these days. The attraction has certainly dimmed especially when it lasts for over a week.

AgnesFaludiover a year ago

I also got some good deals, but not on huge things. Usually the January and February, end of the year sale beats everything in price.

Original Poster
over a year ago

We did a story earlier about this! Loads of places are cheaper after Black Friday, definitely worth waiting, some are even cheaper in December. https://www.latestdeals.co.uk/news/black-friday-warning-7-top-products-found-cheaper-sale

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