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Black Friday sales are catching up in India. Here’s why retailers are adopting the Western trend

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Black Friday sales that fall on the last Friday of November is the beginning of the Christmas season in the US. The phenomenon is rapidly catching up in India with an increasing number of brands dishing out heavy discounts during the weekend that even stretches up to Monday

Woman holding Black Friday bags while shopping in a mall

By Bhavishya Bir in New Delhi & Anagha R Ratna in Bengaluru

The last few months of the year always get everyone into a cheerful mood for retailers and shoppers alike. We wonder if it’s the festivals or just the excitement for new beginnings. However, we are sure that the sales and discounted prices surely contribute to the joy.

One major sale that comes up during this time is the Black Friday sale. Don’t get confused by the name as it is a happy time for the retailers as well as the general shoppers.

Black Friday sales are quite popular in the West. Just like various other things that we have adopted from the west, Black Friday sales are now a thing in India as well. It was not until a few years ago that Black Friday sales came to India, but they are getting popular rapidly.

Black Friday: The Term
Black Friday is the Friday that falls immediately after the Thanksgiving. Many people in the US usually take leave on Friday, making it a long weekend. This day unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. There are discounts everywhere and this is the perfect time to buy everything that has been sitting in one’s cart.

The term ‘Black Friday’ has no negative connection or connotation, even though it consists of the word ‘black’ which is used to mark days on which are to be remembered for tragic reasons. Instead, this term came as retailers earn a lot of profit on this day. Therefore, they are ‘in the black’ rather than being ‘in the red’. In this context, red denotes deficit and loss while black denotes profits. From here, the term came into existence.

However, it’s not all about joy as this day comes with its own repercussions. Since it is the busiest shopping day of the year, it leads to traffic jams which cause inconvenience to the public. Also, there have been several reported injuries and a few deaths due to heavy crowds on this day.

Black Friday Sales: Benefits for Retailers
As retailers began to realize they could draw massive crowds by discounting prices, Black Friday became the greatest day to shop. Everyone in the retail business is trying to get their piece of the pie. Each store has its weapon of choice, which could include any combination of special sales, longer store hours, online discounts, gifts, and more. Traditionally, many retailers would open their stores and invite hordes of people to wait anxiously outside the windows on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Assembling nearly 20 years of holiday sales data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), it is proven that the average annual increase in Black Friday spending has been 3.5 per cent. And the total spending of the preceding year rose to 886.7 billion US dollars.

Retailers make a huge profit at this time of the year in several ways. Many retailers see Black Friday as an opportunity to clear old inventory to introduce newer stock in time for Christmas. Black Friday is about getting more traffic and sales in a short period. It’s one of the best days for e-commerce sales in a year. It therefore offers retailers an opportunity to capitalize on customer demands and bring extra traffic to their websites as well.

Black Friday in India
The Black Friday phenomenon has spread across Indian retailers and consumers in the past few years. Black Friday sales coming to India is not a big surprise since no one can pass on a great marketing opportunity like this. With huge Black Friday sales, the average footfall has doubled. This is because people get the opportunity to buy products that they have been waiting to buy for almost half the price.

“Our daily footfall is 1500-1600 but during this time, it doubles which definitely impacts the sales and profits. This is the reason we are having this sale from 18 to 27 November, which gives us a chance to increase the sales throughout these 10 days,” Harish, Department Manager, Croma store in the Select CITYWALK mall in New Delhi said.

However, it is not always possible to visit the stores on a Friday. So, retailers have started offering week-long sales. This increases the footfall for all the days including weekends and weekdays.

Priyanka, F.C. at the Hunkemöller store in the mall says, “Normally, it is slow business from Monday to Thursday with crowds starting to come in from Friday. However, during the Black Friday sales, there is a 120 per cent crowd even on a Monday.”

In malls, brands offer strong promotions, in an attempt to get shoppers back from screen shopping.

“The Black Friday promotions and sales at the end of November are the start of a long-lasting peak season, which begins with most of the activity online and then moves in-store as we get closer to Christmas day,” a sales executive from Nexus Mall Koramangala said.

“Transitory discounts encourage consumers to purchase immediately, without thinking about whether they really need to buy a product,” he added.

Black Friday offers in India
Numerous retailers and shopping arcades in India have adopted the Western trend.

Nykaa, an Indian e-commerce company that sells beauty, wellness, and fashion products, too holds a Black Friday sale. Branded, the ‘Pink Friday Sale,’ Nykaa offers deals and discounts on thousands of products across several brands including Lakme, Maybelline, Nykaa Cosmetics, MAC, Huda Beauty and more.

The new-generation London-based fashion and lifestyle brand Urbanic has also announced a huge discount of up to 70 per cent as part of its Black Friday sale.

“Our Black Friday sale offers thousands of deals from every significant category at a time of the year when we know saving money is important to our customers,” a visual merchandiser from a prominent Indian lifestyle brand said.

“From a business point of view, we often have excess stock which we need to sell. So we keep the prices of those items low to get them sold out faster,” he added.

Footwear brand Woodland is also offering heavy discounts.

“We’re all set to begin this year’s Black Friday in which we’re offering free merchandise worth Rs.1,000 on shopping of Rs.6,995 and free merchandise worth Rs.1,750 on shopping of Rs.10995,” Pavandeep Singh, VP Growth Strategy, Woodland said.

During the period, Evocus black water is offering flat 30% off in addition to free shipping on prepaid orders on its website. The offer will be valid from 25 November 2022 till 30 November 2022.