Cyber Monday: Making Sense of the Festive Shopping Frenzy

Black Friday

By the fourth Thursday of November each year you will have received a plethora of emails from both online and high street brands encouraging you to take part in the shopping frenzies we all now know as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”. But what does this mean for PRs and journalists? And where did it all start? … By Holly Forrest, Consultant

Originating from across the pond, this shopping ‘holiday’ was originally an opportunity for shoppers to take advantage of sales based around Thanksgiving.

However, consider how many of us now follow a certain American family famous for peachy derrieres and a love for social media! The fact is that US pop and consumer culture and major buying events such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday inevitably spread to the UK. And it seems like they are here to stay. Whether we like it or not.

Back in Black

But what is the real purpose behind this shopping extravaganza? Rumours circulate that it’s a chance for retailers to play catch-up for poor performance within the year, thus “heading into the black in profit.”

Also, Black Friday historically started in the US with in-store offers, though in recent years online and mobile e-commerce has well and truly embraced this opportunity to sell sell sell, with Brits expected to spend £1.96 billion this year.

Realistically though, what does it all of this mean for Joe Bloggs from Sunderland? (Or Jane Smith from Plymouth, for that matter?) And why should we even care? In theory, for those savvy shoppers amongst us, this is a chance to nab some bargains before Christmas.

During previous years, there has traditionally been some great Black Friday deals on gadgets and consumer technology. Yet nowadays pretty much any product or consumer service you can imagine, from batteries through to personal training, seems suitable to be thrown in amongst the day’s MUST-BUY discounts.

Top Black Friday tips for PRs

More importantly for us, what does Cyber Monday mean for diligent consumer journalists and tech hacks? Hours spent speed-typing up the best deals whilst the non-journos (i.e. 99.9% of the normal UK population) hits refresh on their websites, hoping to hunt-down the best offers both instore and online, with only the elite surviving to nab the bargain. Think Hunger Games, but with shopping trollies and credit cards!

As you can imagine, thanks to the feeding frenzy, journalists and editorial teams receive hundreds of emails from hopeful PRs that their product will make it onto the brutal cut-list. The post-event recovery has to be quick though, with no time to spare, as the same journos and PRs are also currently snowed-under with endless festive-themed editorial pieces being published, including seemingly hundreds of our perennial favourites, the Christmas gift guides.

“And what about those poor PRs?!” I hear you cry. The ever-growing Black Friday/Cyber Monday beast is certainly an interesting one for us. Particularly for the team here at Kaizo, as we sit on both sides of the B2C-B2B fence, promoting consumer tech and lifestyle products and business technologies which support behind-the-scenes.

Sourcing clear information on the best offers from clients and being extra-kind to journalists generally hits the spot on the consumer side of our Black Friday PR push. While over in business tech, there’s a concurrent increase in editorial opportunities to discuss behind-the-scenes technologies and, more generally, what the future could look like for this holiday shopping event.

The Black Friday Frenzy is here to stay. Accept it.

And with that, we’re off to Covent Garden to hit the shops and happily part ways with our British pounds as we nab some bargains. God bless America! God bless Black Friday!!


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