The dangerous red pencil spectacle

It is one of the biggest discount battles in retail: On Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, the wave of bargains that swept over from America also hit German city centers. But the campaign can backfire not only for retailers.

It's all taken away on Black Friday in America.

EPeople are jostled, pushed and shoved – almost all means are allowed for the supposedly best bargains of the year. Every year there are incredible scenes that play out in America’s inner cities. Huge crowds clog big cities like New York or San Francisco early in the morning. It’s “consumer hand-to-hand combat”, it’s “Black Friday”.

This major shopping day has been a fixture in the United States for decades. The bridge day between Thanksgiving and the fourth weekend in November is loved and celebrated by most of American consumers. Almost more than Halloween or Christmas, even if there is now also the option of shopping on the Internet on this day without a big push. But to be there live – still many Americans do not want to miss it.

Important indicator for retail

Because almost all shops attract on this day with low prices and longer opening times. On the retail side, Black Friday is not only extremely stressful – for many it is the most important indicator of the coming weeks of sales before Christmas. The name alone says a lot: Black Friday is named after an industry rule according to which retailers break even for the year on this day and are in the black – or not. In order for the result to be correct in the end, the industry came up with something years ago.

Anyone who as a consumer does not want to walk through full shopping malls on the said Friday (in America) and take part in the close combat at the counter can simply go shopping online on “Cyber ​​Monday”. This shopping day, the Monday after Thanksgiving, has become one of the most popular days for online shopping in America in recent years – and next to “Black Friday” the second most important retailer’s day.

Checkout quickly - long lines form at many discount stores like this one at Target in Highland, Indiana.
Checkout quickly – long lines form at many discount stores like this one at Target in Highland, Indiana.: Image: AFP

The world’s largest online retailer Amazon goes one step further and has been calling the “Cyber ​​Monday week” for years. The group advertises with over 10,000 offers, which are reduced by up to 50 percent. This week, numerous lightning offers go online in quick succession. A different product every five minutes. Without pushing and shoving, only the credit card gets hot.

Do the early bargains make sense?

“Black Friday” and “Cyber ​​Monday” will also boost sales in Germany. According to estimates by the German Trade Association (HDE), Germans, attracted by numerous special offers, will spend around 2.4 billion euros on purchases. That is another 15 percent more than last year. The bargain days imported from America are in the process of permanently changing the retail sector in Germany. The special thing about them: The discounts are already available at the beginning of the Christmas business and not in the last few days before or even after the festival.

The red pencil battle should reach its climax on Friday. Then a large number of retailers from Media Markt to Lidl promise the “shopping event of the year” on Black Friday. Sites like blackfridaysale.de list hundreds of participants in the discount spectacle. “Days of action like Black Friday or Cyber ​​Monday are becoming more and more important for retailers. We have saturated markets in Germany. You need such occasions so that people buy more, ”says marketing expert Martin Fassnacht from the WHU business school with conviction. The co-boss of the online furniture retailer Home24, Marc Appelhoff, is certain: “Black Friday has the potential to become the new winter sales.”