Black Friday in Denmark: The new Halloween?

The growth of the American shopping 'holiday' Black Friday is expected to reach new levels in Denmark this year.

Black Friday in Denmark: The new Halloween?
Danish newspapers advertise Black Friday sales. Photo: The Local

In recent years, it has become the norm to see children (or even adults) dressed as wizards, vampires or superheroes in the last week of October in Denmark as Halloween becomes bigger and bigger.

Now, the rush to the stores to take advantage of Black Friday, the super sales event that marks the beginning of the Christmas consumer season, is set to become an equally established transatlantic part of the Danish calendar.

Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, Black Friday earned its name as the day that allowed retailers to operate at a profit (“in the black”, as opposed to “in the red”). Such an opportunity appears to have been a tempting one for Danish businesses, who have managed to grow the tradition in just a few short years.

See also: American expats adapt to Thanksgiving in Denmark

According to the consumer price comparison website PriceRunner, the Black Friday phenomenon first came to Denmark in 2010 and had its real breakthrough in 2013.

A study by the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Ehrverv) found that two out of three Danish stores will offer customers deep discounts on Friday, November 27th. This is set to result in a record number of debit card (Dankort) transactions – last year’s Black Friday saw 1.5 billion kroner ($213 million) worth of sales, making the all-time top ten for single-day transactions.

“Black Friday has exploded in recent years. We have a clear expectation that it will be an even bigger day than last year, and that when the shops open on Friday, Danes will be ready and waiting,” Martin P. Barfoed of the Danish Chamber of Commerce said in a press release. “After all, everyone likes a bargain.”

The study by the Chamber of Commerce showed that over half of all Danes are now aware of Black Friday. More than one in five of all Danes under 30 expects to do some of their Christmas shopping on the day, as stores across the country will extend their opening hours, often from 6am until midnight.

Despite the many treats on offer, however, economists have warned consumers against getting carried away.

“We tend to go charging in whenever there’s a special offer or sale,” consumer economist Ann Lehmann Erichsen told broadcaster DR. “There’s no doubt that we buy more when prices are reduced. Our analysis shows that both men and women end up buying goods because they are on sale – even when they are not needed.”

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Record retail sales in Denmark after post-lockdown ‘ketchup effect’

Sales of shoes and clothes Denmark leapt by close to 100 percent in May in what the Danish Chamber of Commerce is describing as a post-coronavirus "ketchup effect".

Record retail sales in Denmark after post-lockdown 'ketchup effect'
Danes have been buying shoes like they're going out of fashion (which these Moshi Moshi shoes from 2008 clearly are). Photo: Jan Jørgensen/Ritzau Scanpix
According to Statistics Denmark, retail sales overall rose 9.4 percent in the month after shopping malls were reopened, hitting a new record after the largest month-on-month increase since it first started reporting retail statistics at the start of the year 2000. 
“This is of course positive and clearly shows that the Danes have had the courage to increase consumption as the reopening takes place,” said Tore Stramer, chief economist at the chamber, in a press statement
“However, it must be borne in mind that there has been a saving in consumption that has been let loose in May. So we are also seeing a ketchup effect in consumption.” 
Denmark's government shut down all shopping malls in the country in mid-March, with most high street shops also closing their doors until the restrictions were relaxed on May 11. 
The surge in sales will make up for some of the financial hit taken by Danish retailers during the lockdown, indicating that profits for the year might be less affected than feared. 
But Stramer warned that higher unemployment and a fall in Danish exports would continue to drag on Denmark's economy over the rest of the year, meaning May's bumper sales were unlikely to continue.