What is black Friday?
Unless you have lived on another planet for at least the last five years, you should know that black Friday is simply the best day to go shopping, thanks to its incredible discounts.
But what is the story behind it? Americans have been celebrating it for years already, just after Thanksgiving day: the name black Friday was first used in Philadelphia back in 1950, referred to the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in view of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. From that moment, black Friday has started being associated with the shopping mania that bursts every fourth Friday of November, when shops release very advantageous discounts that tempt even the most avid bargain hunters.
In recent years, this shopping trend has caught on even in Russia, where both online and in store retailers have started offering special sales and promotions encouraging the kick off of holiday shopping.
How long does it last?
In Russia black Friday will start on Thursday 28 November, at 7pm, and will last till the midnight of December the 1st. Even though going shopping right after 7pm on the very first day may be the best idea (the early bird catches the worm – or, in this case, the best discounts), the proper discount day will be on Friday, with a potential estimated turnout of thousands of mall-shoppers in Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
What can you buy on black Friday?
You name it. On black Friday people usually realize they need objects that they didn’t even know existed before. During this occasion, you can find literally anything on skidka (which means discount in Russian): from designer shoes and bags to state-of-the-art food processors, from brand new airpods to clothes for your cats and dogs.
That pizza-shaped sleeping bag is exactly what I was looking for! Or maybe not. But hey… it’s on discount!!
(cit. any black Friday shopper)
Figures from 2016 show how, when it comes to the type of purchases, Russian women prefer clothes and shoes, followed by perfumes, cosmetics and children’s goods. Russian males also like spending money on home appliances and mobile devices. According to recent data, on black Friday in Russia the average purchase is between 2000 and 7000 rubles (between 28 and 100 euros).
Online shopping or in store shopping?
In Russia online black Friday usually takes place on two websites: b-friday.com and blackfridaysale.ru, where more than 100 Russian and foreign companies take part in the discount wave (among them Ozon, Wildberries, Eldorado, the hotel website Azimut Hotels, hypermarket O’key and many others).
According to figures by AKIT – the Russian association of companies dealing with online retail- last year Russians spent more than 17,4 billion rubles just on online shopping.
However, for the traditionalists who still take pleasure in carrying huge bags around malls and busy streets, in store shopping is still an option. But get ready, because on black Friday things get tough: physical prowess can make the difference between a successful discount-mission and a complete flop. Malls turn into battle fields, where you shall be able to maneuver through obstacles (usually middle-aged ladies thirsty for the best discounts) without losing tempers.
Although we are all familiar with black Friday viral videos of Americans trying to take as many objects as they can with them, Russians seem to be just as wild discount hunters (if you are interested, just type “black Friday in Russia” on Youtube and you will probably be shocked).
How to survive black Friday without getting broke (nor injured)
Although just the thought of shopping on black Friday may bring some of you out in a rash, we assure you this experience doesn’t necessarily have to be all doom and gloom. First of all, planning in advance can help you save time: put together a list of the stuff you really need may be the first helpful step to avoid spending money on useless things.
Nowadays shops often provide information on discounts in advance, so browsing the internet before purchasing should be enough to help you save money. Also, planning a budget is crucial: sometimes the heat of the moment makes you buy extremely unnecessary objects that cause you an almost immediate regret after purchase. But, as Timbaland once said, it’s too late to apologize: your wallet doesn’t want to listen to your excuses. In order to avoid this unfortunate situation, check your bank account before grabbing the credit card. Better safe than sorry!
Moreover, given the huge discounts available, a lot of people are going to miss out and be disappointed: they may get a little crazy and act aggressive, which can lead to pushing, stealing, and even stampeding. Therefore, we highly suggest you should leave any store or situation in which you feel there may be a threat to your safety.
Russian sales are weird…
In Russia you have to keep an eye out for discounts on black Friday, because you could potentially find them anywhere, even in the metro! In the attempt to cash in, in fact, last year the metro of Moscow announced discounts in its souvenir shops: more than 200 items were put on sale in 13 Moscow metro stations.
But that’s not all! You should be careful also because Russian discounts may sometimes behave differently: on black Friday in 2017 shoppers noticed that some merchandise was actually overpriced, instead of being discounted. Here are some of their pictures:
Now you know what to expect from black Friday in Russia. Weather you are an online shopper or an in store one, just wisely keep an eye out for the best prices… without letting the discount euphoria get to you.
Enjoy your shopping!
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