The US tradition of Black Friday got us thinking about other shopping days and events around the world. We went on a search for some of the globe’s best and most interesting shopping experiences, from month-long celebrations of retail therapy to the opposite extreme of joining together to buy nothing at all.
In the US, Black Friday heralds the start of the Christmas shopping season. Held on the first Friday follow Thanksgiving Day in late November, Black Friday sees shops opening for extended hours and offering promotional sales designed to kick-start the Christmas spending. Black Friday is often the busiest shopping day of the year in the US.
Many countries, including the Canada, Australia, the UK and many other Commonwealth Nations, offer Boxing Day sales on 26 December. The idea for retailers is to get rid of all their Christmas stock, which has now become redundant for another ten months or so. Many shops open early and offer impressive price reductions, designed to tempt bargain-hunters into parting with their cash in order to clear the shelves ready for the new year’s goods.
The Layali Dubai (Dubai shopping festival) is a month long event held from mid-January to mid-February each year. Stores offer discounted goods, while a range of activities such as daily concerts is held to encourage shoppers to spend. Layali Dubai is growing in size every year with locations such as the Global Village and Night Souq logging record numbers of visitors.
From the last week of November until Christmas Eve, Germany comes alive with traditional Christmas markets that spring up in villages, towns and cities. The markets shy away from mass-produced consumer goods and instead promote locally made craftwork and food items, offering shoppers some wonderfully quirky and unique gifts for themselves or their loved ones. Shoppers can enjoy mulled wine, baked apples and gingerbread biscuits while they browse the toys, candles, wood carvings and traditional marionettes.
In India, the week of celebration that centres around Republic Day, when the Constitution of India came into force (26 January 1950), has become a week of retail therapy for many citizens. In recent years, retailers have celebrated ‘Republic Week’ by offering sales to entice shoppers through their doors. The result has been impressive, with this year’s Republic Week sales grossing 9% higher than the traditional shopping period of Diwali week.
In contrast to the celebration of retail that all these other days and months promote, the UK will be holding Buy Nothing Day on 30 November 2013. Created to highlight the environmental and ethical impact of consumerism and the disproportionate use of world resources, Buy Nothing Day will see shoppers across the UK abandon their wallets in favour of engaging in other activities for a day of putting the planet first.
What is the most popular shopping day in your country and why? Share the details with us via the comments box.