Boxing Day sales are a thing of the past

Published Dec 24, 2021


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Originally published by Independent. Written by Emma Henderson.

Since the rise of Black Friday and internet shopping, we can now quite literally have our (leftover) cake and eat it.

Since America’s biggest shopping event, Black Friday, made its way across the pond, the Boxing Day and January sales have never been quite the same. The landscape of seasonal sale shopping has dramatically changed. Consumers now have the huge benefit of being able to buy presents at a discounted price before Christmas. So why wouldn’t we jump at this chance?

A decade ago, winter sales very firmly started on Boxing Day. It was, along with the January sales, the biggest event of the shopping diary. People would go mad, buying clothes, toys, sofas, kitchen appliances – quite literally anything and everything. Even next year’s festive wrapping paper and cards, for those who could face it. Some deal hunters would actually wait to buy the big Christmas present of the year on 26 December, in order to save themselves a few quid.

In those pre-Black Friday days, you’d have likely had to queue up outside a physical shop from about 5am and sacrifice gorging on leftovers at home in your Christmas jumper to really make the most of the festive sales. There was no truer sign of how strong British bargain-hunting culture was than seeing hordes of dedicated shoppers queuing in the cold, waiting for stores to open.

Now Black Friday has increasingly grown in the UK, and this year saw the UK’s biggest ever Black Friday event. According to a study from Toluna, shoppers spent 55 per cent more than in 2020 during the event, which spans 26-29 November. Only 22 per cent of shoppers visited an actual shop during that time.

The success of Black Friday means there’s less interest in Boxing Day or January sales. We’ve seen this in our coverage of these sales over the past few years, as more and more shoppers look for great deals to wrap up under the tree ahead of Christmas Day.

The internet has a thing or two to answer for as well. Since the rise of internet shopping, which allows us to do it all from home, we can quite literally have our (leftover) cake and eat it without queuing in the freezing cold. More people took to internet shopping out of necessity during the 2020 lockdowns, having to order groceries and everything else they needed as non-essential shops were closed. This meant more people who may once have feared or been slightly dubious of the wonders of online shopping actually came round to the idea.

The advent of online shopping has killed the need to trudge around the high street with the world and his wife on Christmas Eve, the rush to get all our presents or queuing up outside shops on Boxing Day. It’s much easier to do it all from home in a relaxing way, well before Christmas, and snag a bargain.

Sorry Boxing Day, but there’s a bigger and better deal in town.

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