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Black Friday or discovering “good offers” regardless of inflation

Passers-by walk in front of a sign with the announcement
Passersby walk past a sign announcing “Black Friday” in Paris on November 23, 2018 (STRINGER/AFP/Archives)

The annual peak in consumption, Black Friday, which kicks off this Friday at certain retailers, shouldn’t suffer from the half-mast purchasing power of the French, who are eager to take advantage of good deals in the face of inflation, pollsters and retailers believe.

In front of the Galeries Lafayette, which is already decorated for Christmas, Marie Bois explains that she has lost 200 euros in purchasing power per month, mainly “due to (the increase) in additional costs such as heating”.

The 24-year-old young woman, window dresser on a working student basis, intends to “take advantage of the promotions” on Friday, November 25 to make her end-of-year gifts.

“The intention to participate in Black Friday is comparable to that of last year (…) and what is driving this participation is the crisis,” Nadine Porge, associate director of Harris Services, told AFP Interactive.

According to a study published on Thursday by the institute relating to cyber shoppers, 70% will look online for good deals on Black Friday, and 55% of them will do so for “reasons of purchasing power”.

Now Black Friday can last more than a week, not just a Friday.

Despite inflation, traders are already rubbing their hands, confident they are making money.

“We’re in a year of even more conspicuous bargain hunting in a declining purchasing power environment,” said Hugo Larricq, commercial director of Cdiscount, an online retail site that expects 10 million visitors on Friday alone.

In 2021, Fnac-Darty had logged more than 50 million visits online and in stores during Black Friday, “the biggest highlight of the year,” according to Simon Ilardi, the group’s director of commercial animation.

“In 2016 in France (…) Black Friday was as big as Christmas in 2018 and then became stronger than Christmas,” confirmed Olympe Krima, adviser to the NVC research institute, on Thursday during a conference.

– “No Green Promotions” –

However, the President of the Federation of E-Commerce and Distance Selling (Fevad), François Momboisse, tempered this enthusiasm. With “enormous purchasing power restrictions, (…) the situation is still tense, very tense, much more so than in the last ten years,” he says angrily.

(Sameer Al-DOUMY/AFP/Archive)

The Harris Interactive study comes to the same conclusion: “More than one in three French people plans to spend less on Christmas shopping than in 2021”, with an average budget of 404 euros (gifts and preparations).

However, retailers do everything they can to seduce the refractories, even going so far as to highlight second-hand, second-hand or “Made in France” products – a way of also responding to criticism from environmental groups overconsumption.

“There are no green promotions!” protests Tancrède Girard, member of the Ile-de-France Network of Reemployment Actors (REFER), who describes the social and environmental impact of Black Friday as “catastrophic”.

“Pollution”, “consumption of resources”, “forced labour”: in response to the event, a group of associations, including Emmaüs, launched Green Friday, a day of awareness of responsible consumption, of which Mr Girard is a founding member.

Extinction Rebellion activist “Crocodile” (who does not want to reveal his identity) assures that he is not “there to stigmatize people and especially the poorest” and emphasizes: “There are other forms of consumption and coexistence!”.

Tancrède Girard agrees: you can “buy only if necessary, repair or reuse, prefer the used” in special circuits…

In front of the bright entrance to Galeries Lafayette, Marie Bois puts her Black Friday shopping into perspective: “It’s not about consuming, but about purchases that I would definitely make,” she explains.

Freddy Bara, 29, a shopkeeper at this department store, notes: “Yes, of course there is the question of overconsumption, but it creates jobs…”. He then concludes with a joke: “Anyway, I won’t do it on Black Friday, I’ll suffer.”

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