After Thanksgiving, the last Thursday of November, holiday shopping season has officially started. Most of us like shopping, as much as we like a crisp skinned roasted turkey shared with our beloved family. Attractive Black Friday deals are the cherry on top (or pumpkin pie after turkey). However, good things come with a price. Pies and mashed potatoes cost two extra pounds gained after Thanksgiving dinner. The price of Black Friday shopping? You will know it when the deadline of your credit card payment hits. Yet, what if the real cost of Black Friday exceeds the money we spent?
Most anti-consumerism activists including brands and influencers, try to highlight the neglected cost of Black Friday deals that our planet has to pay. To name a few: Unsustainable production, overconsumption, consumed consumers, rise in carbon footprint, extended working hours and exhausting working conditions for workers in retail industry, and supply chain. The burden of this cost got heavier after the pandemic. Most countries and households have been financially devastated after COVID-19 lockdowns. Millions of people faced unemployment, thousands of businesses halted their operations permanently, resulting in an economic crisis. While many people have already been trapped in a debt spiral, encouraging those vulnerable consumers to spend more will make them neck deep in debt. Therefore, Black Friday protests were the natural result of the pandemic’s harsh economic consequences.
Anti-Black Friday block includes small local businesses that feel the pressure of unfair prices of retail giants, influencers who desire to inspire their followers with their minimalistic and simple lifestyles, and environment activists. Surprisingly some global corporations such as Deciem, umbrella company of The Ordinary stand against the festive of consumerism, too. Deciem decided to close all its stores on Black Friday since they believe that skincare shopping should be careful and based on detailed research, and decisions should not be impulsive. Rather than discounts on Black Friday, Deciem announced that discounts will be 23% off for entire November. They named the campaign “Slowvember” and asked their customers to shop slowly. Because skincare shopping should be a soothing experience, not a rush.
Brands Against Over-Consumption
When one says “Minimalism”, which part of the world comes to your mind first? Yes, Scandinavia. In their cozy and white-furnished homes and cool, simple yet chic outfits, Scandinavian people draw the picture of happiness. They also write the secrets of happiness, too. Haven’t you read Hygge, Lagom or Lykke yet? Minimalist Scandinavians are natural fighters against over-consumption. Therefore when we see Scandinavian fashion brands protesting Black Friday, it was not that surprising.
- Swedish clothing brand Asket has been protesting Black Friday for five years by closing its online store on Black Friday. This year they also closed down their physical store, too.
- Danish fashion brand Soulland declared that they “do not celebrate the high pace of Black Friday” and instead, they “want to slow down and have better and more meaningful conversations about responsibility” and created a new sub-website on Black Friday to report their work on sustainability.
- Popswap, a Swedish fashion-tech company is standing against the crazy turnover of fashion industry and offering fashionistas to swipe their wardrobes without spending money. The application is known as “Tinder for clothes” by Swedish consumers and offer an environment friendly way of adding new clothes to their wardrobes. This November, PopSwap organized an event named “Popswap Green Friday” in Stockhom and invited fashion lovers to bring their clothes to swap.
What can you do as a consumer?
When more and more consumers opt for sustainable ways of consumption, it is foreseen that brands have to change their promotion strategies as a response to this behavior shift. For now, discounts make most consumers to purchase more and skyrocket the sales; however the system is unsustainable. The companies which act proactively and redesign their production, distribution and promotions to decrease their carbon footprint and negative socio-economic influence will be the winners. Social media influencers are frequently accused for being responsible for overconsumption. Although it is unfair to scapegoat influencers for all the problems of the age of consumerism, it is undeniable that influencers have a power to influence their followers to be responsible and mindful consumers. The Black Friday has passed, yet on December, holiday shopping craziness is going on. I would like to finalize this article with a couple of suggestions for brands and influencers who would like to stand against consumerism and give a different message while all brands and influencers on social media shares shoppable links each and every hour.
Key Takeaways for Brands:
- When consumers shop in a rush, they feel unsatisfied, return items they bought and it creates an undesirable cost for your business. Find ways to increase customer satisfaction, not sales. Create an environment that customers can shop peacefully.
- Rather than giving discounts, donating a friction of your sales to an organization that support your values can be a good point to differentiate.
- In case you haven’t done yet, shift to recyclable materials for packaging.
Key Takeaways for Influencers:
- While all your counterparts share sponsored links for holiday shopping, it is vital to be even more picky not to lose your authenticity. Choose brands to collaborate wisely, be minimalist. Most followers want to see recommendations and shopping lists of their favorite influencers but they may easily be overwhelmed.
- Selling your preloved clothes on second hand shopping applications is a win-win: You feel lighter after detoxing your wardrobe and your fans will be happy to have your admired outfits. Plus you will inspire them for sustainable ways of consumption.
- Looking for new content ideas? DIY videos are always liked and watched. Rather than encouraging followers to buy something new, why don’t you teach them to produce something at home? DIY holiday gifts or Christmas ornaments will attract attention in December. Don’t be sorry if you are not good ate hand crafts, the point is to show alternatives to buying new things. If you have a cooking channel, you can give recipes with Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers. If you are a fashion influencer, you may teach how to repair your clothes or how to take care of fabrics to wear them longer. Whatever you do, inspire your followers to produce, repair, reuse something.
Let us know your thought about Black Friday and shopping frenzy in the comments down below. Or hit us up on our socials to strike a conversation!