Black Friday in Bulgaria - between shopping fever and skepticism

Photo: БГНЕС

The culmination of consumer society’s desirescalled “Black Friday” is a phenomenon that Bulgarian consumers have come to know relatively recently as it has existed in this country for no more than 6-7 years. Reactions to this apogee of consumerism have remained controversial.

Both traders and customers in Bulgaria still have doubts about this fiesta of low prices. There were even citizens' protests against the Black Friday promotions expected on the last Friday of the month as according to some Bulgarians, this is pinnacle of consumerism of the most brutal type. "We are not to wait for shops to open in the morning and if we want to buy something we would pay its full price,” a spokesman of the new movement said.

However, there is no doubt that Black Friday and the following Cyber ​​Monday are gaining popularity and attracting more business and consumer attention. This year, Black Friday, although officially on November 29, began and continued in Bulgaria for almost the entire month of November. Competing traders were quick to announce discounts between 40% and 70%. One of the largest online stores has already announced that in the first two hours of the discounts, goods worth 7 millioneuros were sold. This might be true, or it might be a way of advertising, but it is a fact that 95% of Bulgarians have heard and know what Black Friday is and most of them associate it with online shopping. Shopping malls, of course, have not been skipped and they are full of crowds of fast-paced and hectic buyers who do not want to miss the discounts. Experts estimate that trade turnover is expected to reach about 800 million euros, which is almost one third more in comparison to the past year. However, this holiday of commerce is not much to the taste of small traders who cannot compete with the big chains because of the smaller discounts they get from wholesalers and manufacturers - a fact that does not allow them to make big discounts.

Speaking of discounts, it must be said that they are at the root of the suspicions and skepticism of many Bulgarians when it comes to Black Friday. They simply do not believe that the announced price drops are real and not made up by traders. "People most often complain that the discounts these days are not real," says Dimitar Margaritov, chairman of the Commission for Consumer Protection in Bulgaria. "The truth is that in this period we carry out at least 250-300 checks and in about 10% of cases we detect various types of violations," Margaritov adds. After all, it turns out that most traders are playing honestly on Black Friday. That is why many trust the tempting proposals. According to a poll on the eve of Black Friday, 73% of polled Bulgarians said they plan to go shopping on this day and spend between 50 and 400 euros. Clothing, consumer electronics, shoes and cosmetics are among the most wanted products.

Black Friday is a positive thing for Bulgarian economy, since its main driver is domestic consumptioni.e. the more Bulgarians shop, the more the gross domestic product (GDP) increases and the more new jobs are created. On the other hand, the fact that Bulgarians are the Europeans with the lowest incomes and with very limited purchasing power in comparison to European standards cannot be overlooked. This is of course a brake on economic growth. In this respect, however, there have been positive trends in the past few years - Bulgarians' incomes have been steadily and relatively rapidly increasing. According to various sources, this increase exceeds 10% annually and applies not only to workers but also to pensioners, whose pensions also rise by 5-7% every year.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: BGNES

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