When I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a post from Haeckles, the natural skincare and wild fragrance independently-owned business. Instead of Black Friday promotions, this year Haeckles is offering its brick and mortar spaces in London and Margate to smaller ethical and sustainable brands that are committed to making a difference. 

We all know mass consumption has been a hot topic over the last few years, and naturally Black Friday has been called into question: is it necessary? Does it do more damage than good? (Viral videos of customers fighting each other for the last discounted Nutribullet spring to mind). Black Friday also incites concerns that it creates unfair competition for smaller retailers This calls into question the genuine nature of discounts advertised. A recent Which? survey found that 92% of the discounts advertised on Black Friday were available for the same price or cheaper in the six months following the sales. 

As a result, we’ve seen some brands and consumers boycott the event. But, this approach from Haeckles shines a new light on Black Friday, and how it can be used in a positive way, rather than villainised.

Economic climate

With the escalating cost-of-living crisis forcing consumers to tighten their purse strings, especially in the UK, many are unfortunately finding themselves with less disposable income to spend on Christmas this year. According to a new YouGov poll, 44% of Britons have cut back on buying clothing, with 39% saying they have reduced how much they spend on eating out. 

Amid this economic backdrop, we could see a resurgence in Black Friday this year, as consumers seek savvy shopping habits and ways to battle rising costs to secure a bargain. 

Inflation is threatening sustainable habits, but rather than seeing a repeat of the over-consumption from previous Black Friday events, this year may see more considered shopping habits come to the fore. 

Implications for brands

Traditionally, the gifting market is well insulated from the effects of a recession, but this year brands should expect a decrease in consumer spending this festive season. 

If brands are to be successful in capturing a snippet of consumer cash, they’ll need to come up with a sensitive solution to consumer challenges, and be wary of adapting their output to reflect the current economic climate. In contrast to the pandemic, when aspirational content was en vogue, a more tactful approach might sit better with consumers now.

Black Friday and the value of creators

Consumers are struggling, and they don’t want to have to cut back. They’re seeking quick-wins and content to help them muddle through this tricky financial turmoil. 

Brands must be aware of the value creators can bring in sharing constructive and supportive content. Creators know their audiences best and have a personal connection with them, knowing exactly what they want to see. 

Brands are likely to go all in on messaging around price and affordability, something that creators often shy away from in favour of conversations around quality, newness and origin. The “hauls” content of early YouTube creator days could see a resurgence, as round-up content talks less about mass-consumption and more towards finding bargains to fit new, tighter budgets.

Black Friday 2022 is not about needless shopping, but instead about shrewd shopping hacks and money-saving tips. This sort of activity lends itself well to parenting, high-street fashion, and lifestyle creators. 

Black Friday 2022

This year, Black Friday is set to be like no other. Growing momentum against mass consumption is outweighed by the urgency of the cost-of-living crisis, paving the way for brands and creators who can offer consumers impactful support. 

Black Friday won’t amplify consumerism this year. It’ll just help those in need.

This article was written by Charlie Elliott, Strategy Director at Billion Dollar Boy.

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