Today we will spend £2.6 billion shopping

Enormous: £2.6 billion could also pay for 1.7 billion mosquito nets, which prevent malaria.

Do we spend too much on presents? Black Friday has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with the average Briton now spending more than £200 in 24 hours.

It’s the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Expect to see stores full of crowds as shops cut their prices.

Black Friday is now one of the biggest shopping days in the UK. Last year, we spent roughly £2.6 billion in just 24 hours, and that number will be just as huge today.

That’s enough money to pay for seven new NHS hospitals, or safe water for eight million villages. It could even build a small house for every homeless family in England.

Black Friday started in the US. In the 1950s, police started calling the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday” because huge crowds of shoppers and tourists caused chaos in the city centre.

The name wasn’t common across the USA until the 1980s, when retailers made Black Friday more positive and launched one-day sales.

In 2010, Amazon started lowering prices for British customers on Black Friday, but most businesses didn’t join in until a few years later.

Now, more people shop online than in stores. Last year, online sales in the UK rose 11.7% compared with 2016.

Electronics and clothes are the most popular items for Black Friday shoppers, followed by Christmas stocking fillers and treats.

Do we spend too much on presents?

Shop til you drop

It’s a terrible waste, say some. The spirit of Christmas isn’t about buying a cheap TV. We can show our loved ones how we care in meaningful ways without splurging on pointless presents. Instead of stuff, we should put our extra money towards improving the world.

Don’t be a Scrooge, respond others. Taking the time to pick out gifts for the people you love is a central, fun part of Christmas. Anyway, £2.6 billion may sound like a lot, but when you break it down to individual people it isn’t that much.

You Decide

  1. Should we get rid of Black Friday?

Activities

  1. Make a list of three things you shop for most often. What impact do they have on your life? Do you wish you spent your money in different ways, not at all, or are you happy with it? Discuss these questions in pairs.

Some People Say...

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.”

John Lennon

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Today, UK shoppers are expected to spend around £2.6 billion in the Black Friday sales, when businesses offer discounts on prices. Over half of this total will be from online sales.
What do we not know?
Whether Black Friday will keep growing in the UK. Cyber Monday, a sales day for online which comes three days after Black Friday, has started to take off in Britain too.

Word Watch

NHS
The Royal Liverpool hospital, which has not yet opened, is costing roughly £335 million to build.
House
There are 56,500 households in England who are classed as officially homeless. Simple “tiny houses” can be built for around £40,000 each.
Thanksgiving
The American holiday is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, and Black Friday is the day after.
Retailers
Shops and businesses.
Splurging
Spending lots of money in one go.
Scrooge
Ebenezer Scrooge, a cruel character from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens who hates spending money.

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