Is Black Friday Sustainable?


In recent years, it has become a key calendar moment for the majority of brands who will be considering their stance and how this is communicated. In the same way questioning whether heart adorned gift wrap on their products makes sense for them around Valentine’s Day, would their customer base/target customers be receptive to heavy discounts on Black Friday?


For many families in the UK, the pressure and resultant anxiety of weighing up cost of living worries with gifting loved ones at Christmas is particularly prevalent this year, and Black Friday deals may ease apprehensions. If a customer was planning to buy a product anyway, then why not take advantage of some much needed relief on parting with £££. So, a couple of approaches to Black Friday that have stood out for Stir include:


🛍 Communicating the deals they plan to run in advance to aid in their customers’ budget planning

🛍 Continue the deal for the rest of the month, rather than concentrating the deal to one/two days

🛍 Advertise the deals thoughtfully, showing that as a brand you recognise the experiences of families up and down the country at this time of year


Alternatively, for some brands over recent years, Black Friday is an opportunity to showcase their business as being a destination for slow shopping. Sustainability concerns are front and centre for, demonstrably, everyone but only few brands really put their money where their mouth is. For the fourth year running, Deciem will be closing its stores and website and going transaction-free over Black Friday weekend, “showing who they are”, ie. a brand who doesn’t condone the rush and pressure of the holiday, citing both adverse environmental and social effects as the key drivers behind its stance.


‘Wastefulness and environmental degradation’ are also the reasons Patagonia will be running an initiative which enables customers to sell their used clothes to others, supporting a circular economy across Black Friday weekend. Other brands turning their backs on Black Friday include IKEA, Monki and Everlane. They make their reasons known, knowing that if customers don’t feel that brands align with their principles they will shop elsewhere.


The fact is spend-driving calendar moments can be a lifeline for businesses, and a crux for the wider economy – arguably essential in the current economic climate. If the agenda is well thought out and aligns with the business’ wider values, and if consumers feel educated and prepared, then discounts at a time where spending is at a peak anyway need not be seen as a ‘bad’ thing.


Written by Naomi Holmes