Empowering the Freelance Economy

#Black Friday & Singles’ Day: top tips to beat online queue boredom

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We’ve all become bargain hunters in these lean times and it comes as no surprise that almost half of adults (46%) — more than 24 million people — in the UK plan to take part in Black Friday sales this year. Taking place on 24 November, seven in ten (70%) shoppers aged 18 to 34 will join the hunt for bargains, while only a fifth (22%) of over-55s will do so.

A quarter of shoppers are even happy to wait more than an hour (65 minutes) in an online queue if they could save £200 this Black Friday and 4% would happily spend six hours waiting, according to a Uswitch report.

Four in five (83%) shoppers are set to visit major retailers’ websites and only a third (38%) plan to shop at independent stores.

We at The Freelance Informer would like to see that figure on a more equal scale to support fellow small business owners and our local communities, so we encourage readers to buy local where you can. Whether that is the local fruit and veg shop, butcher or independent clothes or electrical shop if they have set up a click and collect service.

But if you are looking for something that you can only get online then switch.com offers tips for Black Friday shoppers looking for deals online, including how to spot genuine deals. For example, three in ten shoppers are looking for an iPhone 12 deal this year, but 70% of those only want one if it’s discounted by more than 25%.

Passing the time wisely

Four in five (83%) shoppers are set to visit major retailers’ websites and only a third (38%) plan to shop at independent stores. If you are willing to put in the extra time to queue online, why not pass the time wisely? Some are already thinking ahead. According to the report, a fifth (18%) would do yoga or exercise to kill the time.

Many people will take advantage of the fact they are working from home, with one in six (17%) saying they will wait in online queues while on the job. A fifth of consumers (18%) will practice yoga or exercise at home while they sit in a virtual queue, while almost three in ten people (29%) will play games on their phone, and 15% will laze in bed[2]

However, we have a few ideas to keep you productive (sorry, no Candy Crush):

  • (Wink, wink) catch up on your daily dose of The Freelance Informer
  • Organise any invoices or quotes that are pending
  • Write an intro letter to a company you have always wanted to work with and request to arrange a quick chat
  • Call your accountant to ensure you know all the latest rules on what is tax-deductible, even in lockdown. If you work in the UK, discuss your anticipated IR35 status for April 2021.
  • And if you are online already, why not give your online profile on any of your social media or LinkedIn accounts a makeover. Update your profile picture, design a profile background with Canva, request endorsements from clients or co-workers, add any projects you have completed on your site or profiles.
  • Write a case study about a current client experience (you can always keep the client anonymous if they prefer) and place it on your profile or company website.
  • Call your parents, loved ones or a friend you have been meaning to catch up with.

USwitch survey respondents, however, had these options in mind.

Top 10 activities to pass the time in an online queuePercentage of people planning to do them
Play games on mobile phone29%
Look-up more Black Friday deals27%
Life admin tasks, such as paying bills24%
Phone or text a friend/family member21%
Read a newspaper/online news website20%
Practice yoga or exercise at home18%
Working from home17%
Stay in bed15%
Personal meditation and mindfulness9%
Home exercise9%
Source: Uswitch.com

Comparison shop

Online shoppers are more likely to compare purchases than high street consumers, with three in five web browsers (59%) visiting three or more stores to check the price of a prospective purchase, while half of those buying in-person (51%) considering only one or two shops[8]. On average, web shoppers spent 17.3 minutes deciding on a purchase, five minutes longer than high street consumers who deliberated for only 12.6 minutes[9].  

The iPhone 12 — launched by Apple in October — is expected to be one of this year’s must-have Black Friday gadgets, with three in ten people (30%) looking for one in the sales. However, seven in ten of those after an iPhone 12 would only take the plunge if it was discounted by 25% or more[6]

The Xbox Series X sold out on day one of its launch (11 November), so parents will be now glued to their mobiles to see when the next batch becomes available. Some parents are even having to consider leaving an IOU for the popular game console this Christmas until January.

Throwback: Cabbage Patch Dolls ‘Coupon’ madness

Top 10 wish list items for Black Friday 2020
iPhone 12
Playstation 5
Amazon Echo Dot
Xbox Series X
Robot vacuum cleaner
Nintendo Switch
Apple AirPods
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Smart TV
Wireless headphones
Source: Uswitch.com

Top tips to save

Uswitch.com is offering tips for Black Friday consumers in its useful How to be a savvy sales shopper guide, including knowing how to spot genuine deals, setting a budget and how to master your timings.

“The rush online raises the spectre of shoppers having to wait in virtual queues, and most consumers would be willing to spend more than an hour in line for a £200 discount,” said Catherine Hiley, Black Friday deals expert at Uswitch.com.

“Shopping online gives you the chance to plan in advance. Ahead of the event, write a list of the items you want, and note the price so that you can judge any Black Friday discounts. 

“If you spot something appealing on the day, stick to your budget so you don’t find yourself regretting a purchase like the whopping 40% of people who admit that has happened to them. 

“With online queues looking increasingly likely for 2020, use the time wisely and keep an eye on social media for any deals you may have missed. Stay alert, and don’t let your place in the queue be timed out.”

Did you know that China’s equivalent to BlackFriday and Cyber Monday eclipses all similar mega sales campaigns the world over?

China is having a “marathon spending spree” this year. “While “Singles’ Day” – so-called for its annual 11.11 date – has long-been a 24-hour event, e-commerce giant Alibaba has expanded it to an 11-day promotion beginning Nov. 1.

Singles’ Day is said to have been started by bachelor students in the 1990s, the idea being to buy themselves presents to celebrate being single, according to The Sun newspaper.

Alibaba said orders on its e-commerce platforms during the shopping extravaganza had exceeded $56 billion by Wednesday morning (11 November), more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Iceland, Lebanon and Georgia combined, stated a Daily Sabah news report.

The world’s biggest sales event – eclipsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States – at the time of writing brought sellers 16 times as many orders by value than Amazon.com Inc.’s two-day global Prime Day last month.

According to Alibaba, over 340 firms, including Apple Inc, L’Oreal SA and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., have exceeded 100 million yuan ($11.4m) in sales, with 13 brands recording Gross Merchandise Vale (GMV) above 1 billion yuan (£114m).

How long are you willing to queue this Black Friday and what’s worth the wait? Leave your comments below.

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