Many shops offer discounts at this time of year as a way of attracting customers. / SALVADOR SALAS

A Black Friday with fewer bargains

The shops are not slashing prices as they have in other years even though many consumers are keen to start their Christmas shopping early

JUAN SOTO MALAGA.

Black Friday will be more decaffeinated than ever this year locally. The difficult financial situation of many shops since the pandemic began, combined with supply problems worldwide, means there will be fewer bargains than in other years.

Although most of the big chains and shopping centres are making a big deal about Black Friday, small local shops and even some high street names have decided not to offer any additional discounts. They say the economic situation is not good enough and they prefer to focus on Christmas, although there is still some uncertainty about that.

The president of the shopkeepers association of Malaga's historic city centre, Juanibel Vera, recognises this fact. She explains that this year no campaign has been organised by the association and only a few businesses are offering discounts on their own account. "The margins are already at their limit; we can't offer more discounts," say some of these business owners.

This Black Friday will also be marked by global supply problems. As many business owners are not going to receive the merchandise they were expecting, they have decided not to lower the prices of the items they have in stock. "We have to sell what we have and not at silly prices," they say.

According to a report from consulting firm EY, 65 per cent of Spanish consumers will be looking for Black Friday bargains even though the shops have not engaged in a massive publicity campaign as they have in previous years. The percentage has gone up by 21 per cent compared with last year.

Fashion and electronics

By sectors, the businesses say they are seeing a return to the levels of activity of 2019 in the subsector of fashion and the scarcity of components in the world market is going to mark sales of electronics and computers. With regard to toys, they expect people to buy as early as possible because of the crisis in transport costs.

Another change which will affect this Black Friday is the increase in online shopping. Although it was already a reality before the crisis, Covid has boosted Internet sales and will continue to do so because a lot of people are afraid of being in crowds. "The shops can't compete with the prices on the internet," says Fernando, who owns a shop in the city centre.

With regard to consumption, people in Spain will spend an average of 260 euros on Black Friday, which is 25 per cent more than last year, when the event was affected by restrictions, according to the Black Friday Consumer Sentiment survey carried out by the Boston Consulting Group.

The survey shows that Black Friday has become consolidated as a benchmark for shopping worldwide, and in Spain 83 per cent of those questioned said they plan to buy something this year, compared with 68 per cent of those who took part in the study last year.

Elena Miranda, a young woman who visited several clothes shops in Malaga city centre earlier this week said, "I normally buy practically everything in the Black Friday sales, but this year it looks as if I'm not going to find much," she told us.

Like Elena, María Gómez had also gone shopping but in her case she was carrying a couple of heavy bags when we saw her in Calle Larios. "They keep saying there are supply problems this year and I didn't want to find myself without presents to give," she said.