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Black Friday should not be a black and white choice between promotion and purpose

Black Friday is now an established event in the retail calendar. In 2017, Mintel estimated UK shoppers spent £4.2bn during Black Friday week (yes – no longer just a day – now a week or more), 13% up from 2016. Unsurprisingly given as a nation we are facing an uncertain 2019, it looks unlikely that 2018 will buck the trend. Research released by McKinsey this October showed that 77% of people are at least planning to look for bargains this year – with 30% saying they definitely plan to purchase.

Two competing approaches to growth

Brendan argues that Black Friday has become a battleground between two competing approaches to growth: promotion and purpose.

There is no surprise that some retailers prioritise the short-term gain of attractive promotions to bring footfall into stores, traffic to websites and, hopefully, extra revenue. However, there is an increasingly vocal opposition to this approach. For some brands, Black Friday has provided an opportunity not for short-term revenues, but for longer-term brand building by abstaining from the event in a way that demonstrates their underlying purpose.

Could the winning approach be to combine the best of both worlds and mix in purpose to promotions, in a way that Everlane and Patagonia are doing?

Please click here to read more on Brendan’s thoughts, in The Drum.