Lifestyle & Culture

Imported from America, Black Friday shopping craze is sweeping Europe (updated)

No turkey on this Thanksgiving’s Day in Europe, American expats? Hey, but at least there’s the beckoning allure of Black Friday sales calling to you whether you call Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna or Frankfurt or another great European city home.

Thursday and Friday, 23 and 24 November, are just normal weekdays in Europe while America is celebrating Thanksgiving. With that comes the biggest shopping frenzy of the year starting as early as Thursday evening.

So while there is no pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce on your dinner table in Germany, Austria or the Netherlands this Thanksgiving, European retailers are making sure you get the full Black Friday shopping experience.

The European media including the IndependentTelegraphGuardian and The Mirror have big Black Friday posts explaining both the origins of this new-to-Europe bizarre retail orgy and what each player – Amazon, John Lewis, Lidl and Tesco – is offering.

The big news this year is that Black Friday has come early with Amazon opening its online “Black Friday Deals Store” last week.

New in Holland and Belgium for 2017 is a Black Friday Netherlands website dedicated to the offerings. Ditto for Germany, Sweden and France.

(One of the major Black Friday complications is that Amazon in Germany doesn’t ship all items Europe-wide.)

If you have subscribed to the newsletters of your favorite retailers in Europe, you were greeted recently with 20-percent off or 30-percent off Black Friday discounts in your inbox to make sure you don’t miss them … even if you somehow missed the big Black Friday promotions in shops in downtown shopping streets or your favorite shopping center.

Smart TVs, drones and the next-gen Amazon Echo are all big sellers for 2017.

Most of the sales will be running through Monday, and British shoppers alone are projected to spend a record 10 billion pounds this year in just 24 hours, or about 1.8 million pounds per minute!

Amazon.de pretty much brought Black Friday to Europe. Now, all  brick and mortar shops on the high streets Esprit, sOliver, C&A, Nike and others are participating in stores and online.

Whichever country you originally come from, if you were planning on snatching that sweater you have been eyeing, or start early Christmas shopping, perhaps you will be joining millions of Americans as they rush to the stores and catch their deals.

We don’t expect crazy crowds in Europe that all the TV stations report about as American shopper literally break their legs trying to get to that TV on sale at a deep discount.

So your European Black Friday experience might just turn out to be good for the pocket and more pleasant when browsing through the racks.

Here’s a curated list of crazy savings from Black Friday sales in Europe:

• As we mentioned above, Amazon is having big Black Friday sales, though you might not be able to get stuff delivered if you live outside Germany. Amazon is having daily deals that go live each morning as well as Lightning Deals just so you never leave their website.

• Ingolstadt, Germany-based Media Markt is the big electronics retailer in much of Europe. Surprise, they’re blowing it out!

EasyJet execs have invited themselves to the retailers’ party, announcing their own Black Friday flight bargains.  Prices are crazy cheap for flights departing from airports in the United Kingdom to warmish spots such as Mallorca and Barcelona.

• Not to be outdone, Wow Air is offering $129 tickets from San Francisco to Europe … but not from Europe the U.S.

Virgin Trains launched a half-price sale with 300,000 tickets up for grabs in the UK. The tickets are for 6 January through 2 March of 2018. Prices include London to Edinburgh for just £20.

Skyscanner will be tracking other real-time travel bargains.

The Guardian has the best list of what each UK retailer is offering.

The Telegraph has its recommendations for electronic bargains.

Black Friday historically comes from the 1960s in the United States when retailers wanted to increase their revenue, inventing the Black Friday concept. It’s called “Black Friday” because the all-important Christmas season marks the point retailers generally reach profitability for the year, and bookkeepers enter positive revenue and returns into ledgers in black numbers. (Losses, of course, are recorded in red numbers.)

Black Friday was introduced in Europe several years ago by businesses who wanted to copy the successful model of American retailers. It has been gaining on popularity and is becoming an established business practice.

In Europe, Seattle-based Amazon is really pushing the concept of Black Friday into the consumers’ consciousness, an effort by the giant e-tailer that dates back to 2010. Throw enough marketing behind something and guess what … Black Friday has actually caught on in France and Britain in the seven years since they started.

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