Get set for some heavy-duty shopping on Black Friday

1000X800_experian_blackfriday-300x240Black Friday (the last Friday in November), and Cyber Monday (three days later) may have originated in the USA but they’re now big annual news in the UK.

British online shoppers spent £810 million on Black Friday last year, according to figures from Experian and internet retail experts IMRG. This year, the figure may be about to get bigger – with forecasts that Black Friday 2015 will become the UK’s first £1 billion online shopping day.

Why are Black Friday and Cyber Monday so popular?
Not only is it the busiest pre-Christmas time of the year for internet shoppers, but it neatly follows many people’s final payday before the need to go Christmas shopping.

As a result, enough people feel flush with disposable income to be able to do their online Christmas shopping now, in good time to get it delivered.

The rise of ‘click & collect’ services, and a greater trust in retailers being able to deliver well in time for Christmas, has also resulted in a trend for many people being more comfortable leaving their Christmas shopping until a Monday later.

What’s the difference between them?
A lot of the action on Black Friday takes place not just online but in shopping malls and high streets around the country, while Cyber Monday tends to be an online phenomenon only. Also Black Friday discounts especially can last up to five days while Cyber Monday is usually a one day sale.

On Black Friday last year a handful of well-known retailers had to bring in extra staff to cope with the rush, while cameras filmed shoppers fighting over discounted TVs. In some cases police even had to be called and shoppers were arrested for causing public disturbances or assault.

Some tips if you’re planning on braving it:

–       Research deals online: many of the best deals will be trailed on store websites or curated pages.

–       Know stores in advance: If you are going out in the real world, plan your route or you’ll be beaten to the best bargains. Research how each shop is laid out and how to get to the most important goods first.

–       Be patient online: many bargains showing as ‘sold out’ may become available again when people who’ve bought them allow the deal to time out without completing the transaction.

–       Buying on credit can give you protection if things go wrong (clothes don’t fit, unwanted gifts etc) compared with paying by cash or even debit card, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

–       Shopping online?  It’s best to use websites that you know and trust.  Always look for a security padlock icon in the top left hand corner of a page before you register financial or personal information on a website. And if an online deal you find, or have been emailed, sounds too good to be true, it quite probably is.

After you’ve done your shopping, don’t forget what you’ve spent. Try to stay within your credit limits and to pay your credit bills on time. Missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, and this can have a big impact on your future ability to get credit. If you can’t make the minimum payment, speak to your lender as soon as possible.

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