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Black Friday 2022: Consumer Spending Outcomes

Just seven days after COP27 concluded, Black Friday feels somewhat ironic this year, as the deliveries involved are estimated to release at least 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. As discussed in the talks, imminent cuts are needed to avoid global health problems because of rising temperatures. Despite this, the cost-of-living crises throughout developed countries mean Black Friday is viewed as a saving grace for many.


Black Friday has become the day that kicks off the shopping season. A few hours of panic buying are concentrated on this day due to its significant sales and discounts in many shops. This causes a multitude of queues to buy the chosen products, just one month before the winter sales.


This year analysts predicted that buyers would purchase fewer products per shop, and sales will extend even further toward Christmas due to overestimated spending. High-street shopping was more popular than deliveries in the UK, as shoppers are forced to be more careful with their spending amid the nationwide financial troubles.


Despite environmental impacts, Black Friday is seen as a good chance of obtaining something affordable. With the rise in inflation and many tightening their belts this winter, retailers were predicted to overestimate the demand for supply. In the UK, wage rises are being rapidly outpaced by an increase in prices. The Guardian reported that retailers are thought to be “weighed down with stock.”


Black Friday is the busiest time of year for most retailers, including retail giant Amazon, which is responsible for devastating impacts on the environment. The BBC reports they currently have eight-mile-long conveyer belts spanning over four floors in their warehouse in Kent to handle Black Friday packages. 


The e-commerce giant is often heralded for its easy spending experience and many turn to it for last-minute bargains. Not only does Amazon have an extensive history of poorly treating its workers, but it also has a vast carbon footprint. This is not going unnoticed, as their emissions in 2021 reached at least 71.54 million metric tons of Carbon Dioxide, despite their pledge to be net zero carbon by 2040. Workers, tired of low pay and poor working conditions, have started a campaign called ‘Make Amazon Pay’, and have intentionally staged a walkout on the day of Black Friday this year in protest. Activists such as Extinction Rebellion are also protesting by blockading key buildings involved in the delivery process.


Many retailers find it hard to compete without getting involved in Black Friday deals due to the huge influx in consumer spending around the festive period, with an £8.5bn spending prediction in the UK this year. Spending spikes such as these are irresistible to business owners, and some are even taking the opportunity for good through Green Friday. 


Ethical retailers such as the clothing brand ‘Passenger’ are keen to stay afloat with competition while remaining green. A welcome solution for those in need of a guilt-free bargain, their website pledges to plant five trees for every order to protect the rainforest. This offer lasts for 7 days throughout the Black Friday period. 


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Tags: #economics #COP27 #BlackFriday #consumerspending


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