Beware! Black Friday may not bring you happiness!

Since 2020’s Black Friday was an online-only gig thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, eager shoppers may be quicker than ever to head back to the High Street in person come November 26th 2021. This year could be the biggest physical shopping event of the year. And, as always there is then Cyber Monday, which is traditionally the online-only day. Are you about to head into town for this bargaintastic extravaganza?

Interestingly, Spark found that Black Friday 2020 scored low for happiness, excitement and control. With 2020 being a year where people felt more out of control than ever. This no doubt contributed to why 57% of people were not interested in this event. However in contrast 2019 saw 93.2 million buyers shopping online and sales hitting $7.4 billion – an all-time high. So with the options of being online or getting out and about this year will more of us shop for a bargain?

It is encouraging to see that in 2020 some people showed no interest. Because this consumption is not good for our planet and ideally, we need less of this kind of activity. However, there are always deals to be had and people will still want to feel like they have a bargain. But really, we would all save more money as well as the environment if we tried to buy more second-hand. So, before you head into the cyber sale or make a trip to the High Street make sure you know what is driving your purchase behavior.

There are five key emotions that drive any impulse-buying decisions. These are heightened when the sales come a knocking! Make sure you are buying products for the right reasons:


I will instantly be rewarded. When we purchase something new or experience novelty, it activates the dopamine neurotransmitter, so we feel good when we buy that new dress or gadget. This is a perfect tie to greed because we get greedy for our pleasure centre to be activated.

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Many people fear that if they don’t decide right now, they’ll lose out – FOREVER. On Black Friday stores are praying on your fear by basically telling you if you don’t get it now, you’ll never get it for that price again. So, we are all driven by that fear of missing out. This often hooks people to buy things they don’t really want and certainly don’t need. Don’t let fear drive your buying decisions – plan what you need and how much you are willing to spend and go from there!


Linked to FOMO is envy as this causes people to think that if they don’t decide right now then they are not keeping up with the pack and they will have more new stuff than them.  If you don’t need it or really want it, does it matter that next door has a new gizmo? Don’t let ‘keeping up with the Jones’ drive you to spend on things that don’t actually matter!


Pride (comes before a fall) takes it to a new level again as it is a key driver in purchase behaviour.  If you think that buying a product will improve your reputation, then you will always try to be one step ahead – quite frankly exhausting! This behaviour is typical of the early adopter. They will wait in line to get the newest iPhone or any other new digi product. Then they can show the world that they own the newest and best things and that they are cool for just having them before you!


Sadly, some people buy things because they worry that if they don’t, they will look stupid. This is different from FOMO because it’s driven by the fear that our decisions will be a reflection on us. People who experience shame in the buying cycle feel compelled to purchase things because they see other people doing it. When you are online, stores know how to hook this emotion. Often these days you are served a pop up telling you how many people are looking at an item, purchasing it, how long you have left and how rapidly the stock is depleting – and so you get hooked to do it now or look silly!

Chances are, you’re going to stumble upon something that you want to buy when you get prompted by retailers to have a look at their offers both in store and online.

Top Tips!

Set a budget. And stick to it!

Create a list of the things you really need. And don’t deviate when the offers pop up.

Stay focused in the face of tempting, but frivolous, purchases. If you don’t love it or need it don’t buy it.

Good luck if you are thinking of getting a bargain. Above all be safe if you head out to the shops as the infection numbers are rising and it is nearly Christmas – a time for family and fun.

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