Black Friday is set to be the biggest day of sales this year, with well over £1 billion spent online and in stores on 25 November alone. Over the past few years we have firmly embraced this American tradition, and queued outside our favourite stores in an effort to bag the best deals. However, a new study has revealed figures that seem to show we'll be giving the queues a miss this year.
Money-saving marketplace Flubit interviewed 2,000 people, and astonishingly 90% of them said they wouldn't be going anywhere near the high street for Black Friday. When asked what irritated them most about the day, by far the most common answer was the length of the queues, followed by irritating children running about and getting under their feet, and then the chaos of the sales - as people scramble for bargains.
Instead, 29% of them will do their bargain-hunting from their sofa. Tia Saunders, spokesperson for Flubit.com, said: "Consumers are clearly keen to avoid the Black Friday madness that we've seen in previous years, with our research suggesting most will be cashing in on deals from the comfort of their own home."
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as we already saw this trend build last year. 2015 saw fewer queues build up outside stores in the UK than they had a year earlier. Even on London's Oxford Street, while some stores drew queues, in others the 'crowds' were described as an 'orderly trickle' rather than a stampede.
Apparently, in many cases, there was a surge in online shopping reported instead, with a number of sites crashing under the weight of demand, as more than £1 billion was spent online.
The question of whether this means people will miss out is a thorny one. The very best deals in some cases were reserved for in-store shoppers. These are known as 'doorbusters', and are the large and expensive items, with huge discounts, placed by the door, and designed to be the first destination for shoppers who burst in as the store opens.
For an individual who has advance notice of a doorbuster, really needs this specific item, is first in line, and can snap up the deal, then buying in store could get them a far bigger saving. There's also nothing to stop you checking your phone for discounts and shopping online while you wait in the queue too.
However, if you have no particular interest in a doorbuster, you are not prepared to queue, or you end up missing out after the items are all snapped up, then you would have been better off online. Here there may not be quite such massive discounts, but you will be able to go to a number of different stores and pick up reasonable discounts without risking life and limb.
Even then, of course, you have to be prepared for items to run our or for websites to be overwhelmed so you have to go elsewhere. However you shop on Black Friday, the experience is unlikely to be entirely stress-free - but if you are in need of a specific item, then it may well be worth the effort.