Dusseldorf At the online retailer Littlehipstar there is not a single bargain for Black Friday this Friday. And that on principle. “Our claim to sustainability is sincere and there are no exceptions,” the toy retailer announced on its website. “That’s why we don’t have Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but conscious consumption every day.”
Few retailers are so radical and basically boycott the heavily advertised discount days. But in view of delivery bottlenecks and rising purchase prices, the bargains will be in short supply across all product categories this year.
“Overall, prices will be higher this year,” observes Pini Mandel, boss and founder of Quicklizard, a provider of pricing software for retailers. “The problems in the supply chains and the higher procurement costs for retailers will have a significant impact on Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” he says.
Retailers and consumers are looking forward to the discount day in Germany with increasing expectations. According to estimates by the German trade association, Germans want to spend 4.9 billion euros on shopping around the coming weekend. This would make Black Friday the busiest day of the year for retailers.
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But this year the potential for disappointment is high. “Customers will get fewer goods for their budget this year than in previous years,” predicts price expert Mandel. It is also foreseeable that prices will become much more dynamic, i.e. that they will change more frequently. “Customers therefore have to be smarter and look for more,” advises Mandel.
Dealers advertise discounts on moon prices
In any case, many customers overestimate the discount opportunities on Black Friday. Many dealers advertise with high double-digit discounts. But the discounts are often based on the manufacturer’s recommended retail price. The realistic market prices are usually much lower – and with them the actual discount.
According to a study by the price comparison portal Idealo, the average savings in the 100 most popular product categories last year averaged just four percent. Five of the ten most popular products were not even discounted afterwards.
Since rising raw material and transport costs as well as ongoing production bottlenecks are currently leading to sometimes considerable price increases, the price savings around Black Friday could be even lower this year, warns Idealo. “The earlier you start and the more flexible you remain with the product selection, the higher the probability of discovering a good offer,” advises Michael Stempin, price expert at idealo.
Even the dealers themselves have little hope of high discounts. In a survey by Sapio Research and Coupa Software of 600 retail supply chain managers, 82 percent said they would want to offer fewer discounts this year. 60 percent of those surveyed fear that bottlenecks in the supply chain will affect their Christmas business.
The problem is not just a lack of bargains, but generally it is the availability of goods. Karsten Wildberger, head of Media Markt parent Ceconomy, admitted in an interview with Handelsblatt that “there will be delivery problems and that there may be a few product groups or very specific manufacturers.” Amazon Germany boss Ralf Kleber also told the Handelsblatt that it could be even with Amazon that products are out of stock.
A lack of chips is an additional burden on Black Friday
Products that are imported from China are likely to be primarily affected. This means that there will be gaps in the shelves, especially for toys, furniture and electronic items.
The lack of chips causes additional problems. This shortens other products from laptops and games consoles to dishwashers. Ceconomy boss Wildberger estimates that, depending on the manufacturer, this will partly ease again at the beginning of next year, but with some products it could take even longer.
But if the goods are already in short supply, manufacturers see even less need to advertise with discounts. That is why Tatjana Wismeth from the market research company GfK also predicts that due to the restricted product availability, the entire business in November and December will “take place on the basis of a higher price level”.
For customers this means that they can usually no longer afford to wait for special discounts if they absolutely want to buy a special product during the Christmas season. “Anyone who waits until the last moment to make a purchase can experience a nasty surprise,” warns price expert Mandel.
However, those who do not want to or cannot spend more money must, according to the experts, be more flexible this year and look for alternatives to their first choice. Because it is foreseeable that brands that have so far been less in demand and that still have sufficient stocks will attract customers from the competition with good offers, explains Mandel. And then it is still possible to get a bargain or two.
More: Amazon Germany boss Ralf Kleber: “It’s not our job to set records”