Range of deals on offer

Black Friday returns as printers and suppliers join in

Black Friday was introduced to the UK by Amazon in 2010

Several printers and suppliers have got involved with this year’s Black Friday event by offering discounts and other promotions, although amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis spending was expected to be quieter than in the past.

Black Friday began as a post-Thanksgiving festivity in the US, where it marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Introduced to the UK by Amazon in 2010, it is now one of the country’s biggest shopping days of the year, with retailers across the board cutting stock prices to fuel sales before Christmas.

In recent years, many businesses and brands participating in Black Friday have spread their deals out over longer periods, with Amazon offering ‘Black Friday Week Deals’ from 17-27 November.

In previous years Black Friday had resulted in a lot of extra print, including direct mail for promotions, and wide-format print including posters and POS material.

While the volume of print produced appears to have decreased in line with a general fall in interest for the event, Printweek has spotted a number of deals promoted by printers through their websites and social media channels today (24 November).

For one week, starting today, Nettl and Marqetspace are offering up to 20% off selected printing, fabric, banners, embroidered clothing accessories, and promo gifts.

Tradeprint is offering a wide range of discounts on various products until 27 November, Antalis UK is offering “huge discounts across our Papers and Visual Communications ranges” from today until 1 December, and Heidelberg UK is offering its customers double points at its eShop today only when they place an order online.

Meanwhile, surface pattern designer and illustrator Gail Myerscough said on X – formerly Twitter – that while she wasn’t able to compete with Black Friday as a small business, she would Instead be donating 10% of her net sales to charity The Ticker Club from today until Monday (27 November).

Last week, PwC released its annual Black Friday survey that showed mixed fortunes for UK retailers. The anticipated UK spend for 2023 was £5.6bn – a noticeable drop from the £7.1bn forecast in 2022. Interest has waned from 61% in 2022 to 44% in 2023, the lowest seen for a number of years – outside of the 2020 lockdown.

Lisa Hooker, leader of industry for consumer markets at PwC UK, said: “Shoppers are telling us they want to spend less this Black Friday for a number of reasons. For men who look forward to a deal on the latest technology, some may be put off by fewer new releases.

“For many, purse strings are a little tighter this time around, with the improvement in consumer sentiment we saw earlier in the year having slowed over the summer. Finally, the timing of Black Friday a little earlier this year and before payday for many people will inevitably have an impact on spending.”

The event – coming amid the growing Christmas rush – always increases demand on delivery companies and DS Smith revealed ahead of Black Friday that nearly half of consumers (47%) reported receiving damaged goods from online purchases in the past 12 months.

According to the research, the average value of damaged products was £115 each for UK shoppers in the past 12 months.

Magnus Renman, group R&D director at DS Smith, said: “Damaged deliveries are a lose-lose for everyone involved – shoppers get frustrated and retailers have to deal with the difficulty of processing returns.

“Internet sales now account for over a quarter of total UK retail sales and as this research shows, returns come at a significant cost at a time when online shopping is crucial for retailers as we head into the busiest season.

“To help, we are working with impact-testing and tracking technologies to understand what actually happens to parcels on their journey to our front doors. We recreate those conditions in the lab so we can put packaging through its paces and then do everything we can to help protect the product inside.

“Our research and development teams have found that through clever design, there are ways to not only limit damage but use less material, and do it all without plastic.”

Meanwhile, Amazon was braced for strikes and demos across the UK, Europe, and the US today – the biggest day of action in the company’s 30-year history according to GMB Union.

In the UK, more than 1,000 workers at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse were set to down tools in the dispute over low pay, the 28th day of action in the dispute.