Black Friday: and the other biggest shopping days around the world

American retailers love a shopping day- but they're not the only ones

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The Independent Online

Black Friday is almost upon us – the day which kicks off the manic Christmas buying period with retailers offering big discounts to jump-start the busiest shopping days of the year.

It's predicted to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with an estimated £555million expected to be spent online alone, that’s £385,000 every minute.

Black Friday was invented in the US and has been named as such because it refers to retailers going back into black - but the concept is proving to be just as popular overseas. Here are a few examples of a similar phenomenon around the globe.

United Kingdom

When: Boxing Day and Black Friday

Here in the UK we are certainly not immune from the Black Friday frenzy, and can expect discounts available at the likes of John Lewis, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Maplin and Currys. Boots is promising “more deals than ever before” and British Airways will be offering discounts too.

This year, almost half of UK shoppers set to take advantage of Black Friday deals, with 47% of shoppers saying they intend to shop this Friday, according to Verdict.

That said, traditionally the UK’s biggest shopping day is Boxing Day; last year more than £2.7 billion was spent in stores and at online retailers across the UK

boxing day sale 2.jpgChina

When: 11/11 – Singles’ Day

China has its own special annual shopping day called “Singles’ Day”. It takes place on November 11th and is a sort of anti-Valentine's Day when single people buy things for themselves.

In 2009, Chinese online retailer Alibaba adopted Singles Day to boost sales. This year, Alibaba pulled in £5.9bn in sales from the shopping event. The firm said sales had reached 57.1 billion yuan, and that it had shipped 278 million orders.



When: El Buen Fin, 18 November, the day of Mexico’s 1920 Revolution

Mexico has its own version of Black Friday and is known in the country as El Buen Fin (“the good weekend”), and the shopping spree takes place over a period of four days. It’s named “the cheapest weekend of the year” and is pegged to Mexico’s 1910 revolution, rather than Thanksgiving.

This year, it took place on 18 November; it saw 88,000 retailers in Mexico City taking part in the event, which grossed an estimated $12 billion in sales this year.


South Korea

When: Same as Black Friday, called Beufle

Black Friday is also trending in South Korea, but over there it’s called “Beulfe”. It has become a big deal in South Korea because of a trend of locals increasingly shopping on international websites to avoid high mark-ups on imported goods.

Last year during Beufle, South Koreans bought more than $1 billion worth of goods from online retailers based abroad, a 47% leap from 2012, according to customs data.

Dubai/ Middle East

When: 27 and 28 November ahead of Dubai Shopping Festival

Over in Dubai, the Middle East version of Black Friday is called “White Weekend” and runs on 27 and 28 November.

Dubai-based, one of the Middle East's largest e-commerce businesses, planned this Middle East version. It takes place ahead of the Dubai Shopping Festival, the city's biggest annual retail event.

The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) started on 16 February 1995 as a retail event intended to revitalise retail trade in Dubai. It has since been promoted as a tourist attraction. This yearly it is expected to attract about 3 million people to Dubai.



When: Lead up to Diwali Festival, this year on 23 October

In India, it’s all about the Diwali Festival. Indian retailers offer hefty discounts in the month leading up to the festival of Diwali, held on 23 October this year. The holiday is considered an auspicious time to make big purchases.

Stores rely heavily on Diwali shopping, which accounts for a large chunk of annual profits, and the competition is cut-throat with retailers trying to undercut each other by as little as a few rupees.

India’s largest e-commerce company Flipkart said it sold $100 million worth of goods, from shoes to smartphones, at rock-bottom prices in October this year.


When: End of January

Russia has adapted its own version of “cyber Monday” – this year it took place on Monday 27th and sales were around 1 billion roubles ($287 million) according to the Association of Internet Commerce Companie (AKIT). That is almost three times more than the 352 million roubles ($101 million) internet shoppers spent on Cyber Monday 2013.