DNobody wants to miss out on “Black Friday”. Not Apple with a “shopping event” over the entire weekend, not Amazon, which already on Thursday shows the message “Today is Black Friday – get it quick”, not the German retail trade, which wants full shops and pedestrian zones, not the consumers and not the critics.
“Black Friday” is an American tradition that, like Halloween, has long since gained a foothold in Germany. So much so that in advance tempting references to the best special offers alternate with urgent warnings about dubious deals, fake shops and excessive consumption. Jen Christoph from the online bank N26 puts it this way: “We have all experienced the hype surrounding Black Friday. It excites us and leads us to make impulse purchases, which can be followed by guilt and sometimes even regret.”
The prospects are mixed
Not only the buyers are particularly excited this year, but above all the sellers. They fear how Black Friday will affect a difficult economic environment with high rates of price increases. Because inflation is a dominant theme in this year’s Christmas business. A business that is in full swing with Black Friday being one of the most important shopping days of the year. The prospects are mixed. On the one hand, retailers in the home country of Black Friday are trying to spread optimism. However, there are also plenty of signals that concerns about inflation and other factors are slowing consumer sentiment.
Every year, the American Farm Bureau demonstrates how inflation strikes with a vivid example of Thanksgiving, which is so important for Americans. The Farmer Lobby Organization calculates how much a typical Thanksgiving holiday meal for ten people costs. In addition to turkey as the main course, this includes ingredients for various side dishes and desserts, such as sweet potatoes, bread filling (“stuffing”) and a baking mix for pumpkin pie. This shopping cart is getting more and more expensive. According to the organization, the price increased by almost 14 percent in 2021, and this year it has increased by more than 20 percent to $64.05.
“Healthy” Christmas sales?
The retail giant Walmart has taken these enormous inflation rates for the annual banquet as an opportunity for a special campaign with which it promises a contrasting program. He touts offering Thanksgiving ingredients at the same price this year as they will in 2021. For example, turkeys are available for less than a dollar a pound, well below the average price of $1.81 reported by the American Farm Bureau. “We’re removing inflation from an entire basket,” Walmart said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the industry association National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts a “healthy” holiday season. He expects industry sales to grow 6 to 8 percent year-over-year in November and December to $943 billion to $960 billion. That would be a new record, after an increase of more than 13 percent in 2021. It would also be above the average growth rate of just under 5 percent over the past ten years.
Consumer stress is growing
However, this growth is put into perspective enormously by the high inflation. According to government figures, the inflation rate was still 7.7 percent in October, even if there was a slight and encouraging downward trend. Andrew Lipsman of market research group Insider Intelligence expects strong sales growth in the holiday season, but these gains will be driven almost entirely by price increases.