Is Black Friday Shopping a Steal or a Scam?

Twenty percent off? Thirty? Maybe fifty? How much of a sale is enough for you to spend your money on a product? For most people, the answer to that question doesn’t matter if they see the words “Black Friday Sale,” in front of a store. My question is, what makes Black Friday different from any other day out shopping? The answer: it isn’t.

In 2022, the average Black Friday shopper spent around $500 according to Retail Dive. I’m sure many of them found good deals, but would they have spent that much money if it wasn’t Black Friday? Let’s say there’s a shirt you want to buy and it’s on sale for 20% off. You may buy it, but many people would instead save their money. However, if you see the limited number of shirts, other customers, Black Friday signs, and the same deal, you are more likely to buy the product. 

Many customers get sucked into this idea that Black Friday deals are for a “limited-time only,” when that simply isn’t true. In fact, when studying market values, many of them get even cheaper after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So why is it that people ignore this simple fact and spend the extra money? There is a psychological aspect to the marketing of Black Friday and it induces the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out). If everyone is raving about discounts, of course you are going to feel like you have to see what it’s all about. However, it may just be more beneficial to be patient and end up getting a better deal later.

Do you remember when COVID-19 started and there was a toilet paper shortage? Many people felt the need to spend more money on something unnecessary just because they saw everyone else doing it. This same idea can be applied to Black Friday shopping. Although there may be great deals, the concept of this holiday ends up influencing many people to spend more than they would on a regular day out shopping.