Independent retailers across the UK are set to defy the Black Friday sales frenzy for the third year running, according to a survey conducted by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).
The Association has revealed that 86% of independent retailers surveyed will not be participating in Black Friday, almost on a par with Bira’s 2020 survey when 85% of respondents said they would not be taking part. The 2023 survey also revealed that 69% of those surveyed said that Black Friday had a ‘negative impact’ on the high street, with just over two thirds, (67%), saying that they had not previously participated in the event.
Bira ran the survey to showcase the resolute commitment of independent businesses to stand against the Black Friday tradition, citing concerns about the dominance of large retailers and e-commerce giants. The decision to boycott the event comes amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, and the Association also wanting to emphasise the importance of supporting local businesses and the broader economy.
“The results speak for themselves,” states Bira’s ceo Andrew Goodacre. “This has been consistent from our independent traders for the past three years, and no doubt will continue. It’s not about our shops lacking competitive pricing, but rather a strategic move to support the high street and foster economic growth for all.”
Andrew continues: “From an indie retail perspective, Black Friday is seen as a big business, internet event. This makes it very hard for smaller retailers to compete, lacking the buying power of larger counterparts. In general, independent retailers do not see Black Friday as an opportunity,” he added.
Comments from some of those taking part in the survey included:
* “Black Friday epitomises the poor retail management of the multiples and high street stores who feel the need to constantly discount, and in turn are looking for cheaper and poorer quality product to satisfy margin.”
* “Black Friday has very negative connotations. We would rather celebrate great independent shops by promoting our independence of choice, and true savings, rather than blindly follow what is in effect an American important too far.”
* “I would prefer to have a genuine early sale in the shop to loyal and regular customers.”
Independent retailers confirmed that they would be participating in other events to include Colour Friday, which was launched by Holly Tucker MBE, founder of Holly & Co and notonthehighstreet.com, which focuses on celebrating the creativity and colour that small businesses bring.
Bira also recently held a nationwide event, #LoveYourHighStreetWeek, to help celebrate and champion local communities to support their high streets and support independent retail.
Andrew added: “Our independent retailers really are the beating heart of Britain, as they can offer so much more than prices that seem low but perhaps aren’t as good a deal as they at first appear. Our traders can give an array of goods, from everyday essentials to unique, one-of-a-kind finds and we want people to support that.”
Bira works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK.