What Does Black Friday Mean for Luxury Retail In 2021 and Beyond?

Black Friday is a big date in the retail calendar. The day is a burst of long queues, big posters with discounts in shop windows, high streets full of consumers and frantic shopworkers.

However, this clearly isn’t the same story for luxury and high-end brands. These brands have a reputation to uphold that can be reduced by the optics of Black Friday. Nevertheless, in wake of the last year and the impact of Covid-19, Black Friday could still be an opportunity to boost exposure, sales and revenue. Particularly if you’re a small luxury boutique, this might be a necessary and positive choice to make.

The world of retail is changing and adapting before our very eyes, and it’s incumbent upon us to be ready and adaptable for that change.

So, what does Black Friday mean for luxury brands? How can and do they use or not use Black Friday? If you’re a luxury brand, how are you going to navigate Black Friday this year?

How Have Brands Adapted? 

You might already be familiar with the history. After Thanksgiving in the United States, stores marked down their excess stock and consumers flooded to the shops. This became another American import to Europe and the UK.

This association with discounts of course didn’t and doesn’t necessarily gel with the exclusive, bespoke experience delivered by luxury retailers. One of the joys of luxury retail is the dedication and care consumers are offered; whether that’s a one-of-a-kind experience, quality customer service in-store or getting that special dress. But that doesn’t mean mid-to-high-end brands haven’t used or bent to the necessity of Black Friday. Just take a look at Selfridges’ Christmas Comes Early sales over the Black Friday weekend.

Nevertheless, global luxury brands such as Gucci and Tiffany & Co are steadfast in not participating in Black Friday sales. But of course, as consumers have moved from in-store purchasing to online, and shops have had to close for months due to the pandemic, retail is facing new pressures and demands like never before.

Think Outside the Box – Advice from Charmain

So, weighing up how to use this burst of consumer spending effectively is a tricky one for luxury brands. Black Friday could still be an opportunity to host events and provide incentives for exclusive clientele. Don’t forget, Black Friday isn’t a one-off event now, with Cyber Monday just three days later. You could consider the end of November as another potential seasonal opportunity; not just a big day of sales in the United States.

That’s why we asked Outside of the Box founder and managing director Charmain Gyles-Ferguson for her advice. With over 25 years of experience across the fashion industry, she knows consumer behaviour and luxury ethos, and how you could combine the two together.

“Most brands in the luxury fashion and retail sectors do NOT advertise reductions in the name of ‘Black Friday’. However, with so much excess and older seasons’ stock still in circulation from many stores across the globe, and with some of them not operating full opening hours, they have used their online platforms to clear through Far Fetch, Net a Porter etc. This means they’re more likely to use the term ‘seasonal promotions’ or ‘Christmas has come early’, knowing that at this time of the year many of their clients will be ‘bargain hunting’. So, the question is, and what will be interesting to watch: will the luxury sector adopt using ‘Black Friday’ timing as an under-the-radar vehicle to clear slow selling lines?!”

Final Thoughts

With OTB’s Retail Consultancy services, we ensure your business is prepared for the promotional seasons; whether that’s Black Friday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or the summertime. We can help build seasonal promotion plans that are sales focused but still hold true to your brand’s reputation and identity.

Our ethos at OTB is to build and cultivate a long-term relationship with your brand that gets into the DNA of your business and consumer-base. That way, we can help you navigate those challenging times of year for luxury retail. Our services cover a wide range, including sales strategies, digital marketing, business structure, start-up business and more.

Email us today  or call us on 02071693000; we can’t wait to discover your business’s potential.



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A few words about the article author

Dwayne Ferguson is Head of Digital at Outside The Box Recruitment.

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