Last year the prospect of cheap televisions caused bruises and black eyes. This year was a different story.
The Whitgift Centre in Croydon opened at the earlier time of 6am in anticipation of record crowds. By 6.45am there were a mere five shoppers and by 8am only a few dozen more.
The neighbouring Purley Tesco also opened its doors early, but at 5am there were still more staff than shoppers.
In comparison, lunchtime in Lewisham Shopping Centre proved to be a bit livelier but not more so than an ordinary shopping day.
Quieter crowds may have been a result of various anti-black Friday campaigns. The ‘Buy nothing day’ campaign asked for individuals to “switch off from shopping and tune into life”.
The campaign said: “The anarchy that ensures on Black Friday has now become an absurd dystopian phenomenon… Black Friday sucks the life out of small businesses, who cannot compete against ruthless price cutting”.
Tweeters in Lewisham used the hashtag #boycottblackfriday to voice their opposition to vacuous consumerism.
— Little Yellow Duck (@Littleyellowduc) November 27, 2015
It’s #BlackFriday ! Or to use the official name, #NationalAppreciateTheFactYoureNeitherAmericanNorAMarketingCretinDay . #BoycottBlackFriday — Jonathan Marshall (@Jon__Marshall) November 27, 2015
Eastlondonlines asked shoppers in Lewisham Shopping Centre about their Black Friday experience:
Barbara Canton, 46, stay-at-home mum from Italy, said: “Black Friday has become such a big deal all over the world, especially in my native country Italy. I came to London just for Black Friday. Still, I’ll probably have to do some more Christmas shopping.”
Jessica Barrett, 20, a student from West Croydon, said: “I came for Black Friday but it’s not such a big deal. I just came to check a few things. It is a good idea though, so many things are half price.”
Eastlondonlines spoke to business to see how they were gearing up for Black Friday earlier in the week.