We’ve all seen the videos. Endless crowds shuffling into shopfronts at the brink of dawn, tents gathered on footpaths overnight, brawls occurring over department store deals.
Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving in the US, originally marked the day stores would start to turn a profit in the lead up to Christmas. It eventually became the biggest sales day of the year, with shoppers often beginning their hunt right after the turkey is gone.
Although many shops are closed, Adobe still estimates that Americans will spend around $189 billion on Christmas shopping in 2020, most of which will occur between November 21 and 26.
More and more retailers are beginning to take part this side of the pond too, with Irish consumers spending around €250 million on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year. New research from Finder.com suggests that this year, 60% of us plan to shop online in the sales, one of the highest percentages around.
And we’re not the only ones doing damage, with Chinese consumers spending a record-breaking €47 billion during Singles Day, Alibaba’s version of Black Friday, earlier this month.
While all of this may be good for big companies, it’s detrimental to the environment, with the US Postal Service estimating it’ll deliver over 900 million packages after this week and An Post already delivering 2.5 million parcels per week here at home.
That’s a lot of factory production, a lot of lorries releasing toxins into the air, and a whole lot of packaging.
It’s difficult to resist the urge to purchase something during the sales however, as research shows they’re designed specifically to create a sense of urgency and panic, triggering us to think we’re missing out if we don’t secure the deals we come across.
If you do find yourself tempted by this week's sales, there are a few things you can keep in mind to minimise your carbon footprint, while supporting local businesses along the way.
Expedited shipping, like the two-day option provided to Amazon Prime members, has a much larger carbon footprint than regular delivery, employing planes, trains, and too many automobiles to get your item to you in time.
Wait out the normal delivery time instead, it will get there eventually.
On some websites, you can request that your items be bundled during shipping to avoid unnecessary packaging. Check the site’s FAQ section or send a quick email to see if this a possible option when buying multiple items.
This one might be obvious but avoid filling landfills by only buying items you really need. 60% of the clothing produced by fast-fashion companies will end up in incinerators or landfills within the next year and when it comes to electronics, only 20% of materials can be recycled, leaving the rest to leak out toxins in a landfill.
Check if you’re shopping from an eco-friendly company by scanning their website or checking their rating on the Good On You sustainability app.
Look for words like upcycled, recycled packaging, and carbon-friendly delivery.
Returning unwanted items again leads to more deliveries and packaging and many big companies are simply throwing them away, due to the cost of reprocessing.
Perhaps see if you can get ill-fitting clothing tailored, give unwanted items to friends, donate pieces to your local charity shop or resell on sites like Depop instead.
Don’t just dump every piece of plastic from a package into the recycling thinking it can be broken down. Look for the symbol on each piece of rubbish to see which bin it should go into and if it can be recycled at all. If you're unsure check out www.repak.ie
You can also hold on to any boxes, tissue paper, and ribbons from your packages to reuse for gifting next month.
Over 70% of the shopping we do online in Ireland is from international companies. Champion Green estimates that if we each spend just €50 shopping Irish this holiday season instead, we could boost the economy by €180 million.
So, if you are going to shop in this year’s sales why not do it locally and support Irish businesses while reducing your carbon footprint?
The closer the store, the less traveling the item needs to do. Even better, you can click and collect from nearby shops to eliminate the need for packaging and delivery at all.
If you're unsure which brand to go to, head over to a website such as Croia Ireland, which has just launched as a one-stop, all Irish, shop similar to Asos, or all-Irish gift shop www.giftsdirect.com.
Amazon makes roughly $17 million dollars every hour. They don’t need any more support, but your local family-run shop certainly does.
Many Irish retailers are joining in with online offers this year, putting a Green Friday spin on it. Here are a few Irish businesses that have already revealed their eye-catching offers.
Wordsworth bookshop in Millstreet already has some early Black Friday offers on, including a selection of bargain books now in stock. Call 029 70154 for call and collect or inquiries. For customers who are unable to travel to them, they are offering a delivery service for €6.99.
Vibes & Scribes fabric shop in Cork is marking Green Friday with their new Mystery Fabric Remnant Bundles with three random two-metre pre-cut fabrics available at a highly discounted rate. The bundle costs €30 but has a value of at least €80.
Great news for those of us trying to manage a stiff back while working from home. Backballer has a sale for Black Friday with up to 40% off many products.
Wineport Lodge, located on the tranquil banks of Lough Ree, is offering 15% off its gift vouchers for Black Friday. Bonus: The vouchers don't expire, so you can add a little cheer to your weekend by booking next year's getaway now.
If you're looking to get ahead on your Christmas shopping, there's plenty of perfume and candle sets reduced in Ester’s Aromas’ Green Friday sale.
The Metropole Hotel is offering an overnight dinner and bed and breakfast deal for €125 for two people this Black Friday.
The Cork International Hotel is also doing a Black Friday offer of an overnight bed and breakfast stay for just €89 for two people. The hotel is also inviting families to enjoy “Family Date Night” with their private cinema and delicious Sunday lunch offering included.
McSport is offering up to 50% off selected items in their Black Friday sale, running from now until Monday, November 30.
This independent online store based in Co Tipperary has a Black Friday sale on items in its Mindfulness collection, plus free delivery throughout Ireland.
Cult-favorite SOSU by beauty guru Suzanne Jackson has launched its Black Friday sale with 30% off at checkout as well as a special 'Glow Up' bundle offer. The bundle, worth over €100, contains all of the fan favorites - from lashes to palettes - for just €55.
Blacks Brewery is currently offering a mega-deal for those looking for gin gifts, including a pack of five gin gift sets (€250 value) for €150.
Find the perfect Irish gifts online at the Kilkenny Shop, which has locations all over the country and up to 50% off its website for Green Friday.
Cork-based Cummins Sports is also lashing up to 50% off products on its online store, with nationwide delivery available.
The Great Southern has already dropped a 15% off sale online, which runs from November 20 until December 1. The offer applies to their gift vouchers, which can be mailed straight to recipients in time for Christmas. Check out their website for other winter offers.
Struggling with tired eyes? Sapphire Eyewear might be your answer, with 20% off their range of blue-light glasses this weekend. Just use the code BFSapphire20 at checkout.
As usual, the Cork couple who run the business will donate a pair of glasses to someone in need in a developing country for every pair sold.
This award-winning Dublin based print duo specialise in capturing Irish landmarks and are offering 20% off their entire full-price range online from November 24 until November 30.
Lisa Jordan, or Just Jordan as she is known to her fans, launched her highly-acclaimed hair and beauty company in 2017 to resounding reviews. Shop for up to 30% off products this weekend.
Luxury bolthole Number 31 in Dublin city is offering 10% off gift vouchers for overnight stays until November 30. Bed and breakfast for two starts from €170 and vouchers are valid for five years.
This Cork-based skincare clinic is offering up to 25% off its newly launched online shop this week, with exclusive deals on gift sets and other essentials from brands like Image, Murad, and Environ.
Speaking of skincare, don't miss out on the 30% off sale our columnist Jennifer Rock, aka The Skin Nerd, is hosting on her website for Black Friday. Shop her own acclaimed brand, Skingredients, as well as many others.
Candle experts Max Benjamin will be offering up to 20% off some of its luxury gift boxes and 50% off their Ocean Range on their website this weekend.
Dublin-based illustrator Conor Merriman is offering 20% off orders over €20 on his website, where you'll find a beautiful selection of prints and greeting cards.
Renowned Galway-based Spotlight Oral Care is offering 30% off its entire website, including its electric sonic toothbrushes and whitening strips.
A night away in one of Dublin’s most coveted literary hotels is a fantastic way to spoil someone this Christmas, with 15% gift vouchers for stays at Stauntons on the Green in the city centre. Vouchers for bed and breakfast start at €145 and are valid for five years.
Head to Irish owned Global Beauty for 20% off all your beauty product needs by entering code GLOBAL20 at checkout.
Get 50% of Sharleen Collins make-up brush sets all week by entering BLACKFRIDAY at checkout.
WineLab is swooping in at the perfect time to offer customers 15% off their range of sustainably sourced wine boxes. Bonus perk: Get your curation delivered straight to your door free of charge.
Stillgarden is an independent and experimental distillery in Dublin city. Check out their website for 20% off their Christmas gift boxes to try something new this season.
Eccles Hotel in West Cork is also hopping on the discounted voucher bandwagon, with 10% of its gift vouchers until November 30th. Vouchers are valid for five years, with one night’s accommodation, a three-course dinner, and breakfast for two starting from just €280.
This Malahide skin and beauty clinic is adding 20% to all gift vouchers purchased during Black Friday.
Dublin-based artist Chris O'Hara is adding €50 to all vouchers purchased for over €350 until December 12.
Enjoy 10% off all gift vouchers for The Johnstown Estate in Co Meath this weekend, as well as 20% off all Elemis Christmas gift sets from their spa.
Get all your male grooming products for 20% off from Ellie Professional. Use code ELLIE20 at checkout.
We might not have anywhere to go, but one could always do with a backup bottle of tan on hand. Shop Irish favorite Bellamianta this week for up to 70% off sitewide.
Or, head to Iconic Bronze for their 50% off sale to shop another great Irish tan brand. We can never have too much this time of year.
She might only be 24, but Irish influencer and MUA Keilidh Cashell really is a star. As is her acclaimed make-up brand, Kash Beauty, which is offering massive discounts on its collections this week.
This candle brand is not only Irish, but also eco-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free. Win, Win.
Plan a 2021 getaway in Kilkenny at the Pembroke Hotel with 20% off many of their packages, including a luxury spa day.
We've all been living in activewear, so why not update your work from home wardrobe while supporting an Irish business? Gym Plus Coffee has discounts across a range of men's and women's sportswear on their website.
Another one for the tan fans with 30% Vogue Williams' best-selling Bare by Vogue range.
A great one if you plan on sending gifts abroad this Christmas. The Sweater Shop, which has locations in Dublin, Galway, and Kilkenny, has up to 50% off its range of Aran jumpers, cozy knitwear, and more.
This stunning riverside hotel in Cork city is offering 10% off all its gift vouchers, as well as 30% off its best available overnight rate for stays until May 2021. Offer runs from November 27 to 30.
This Irish-owned supplement company is offering a buy one get one free deal for every month's worth of supplements ordered with the code AIMONDAY.
RashR is on a mission to reclaim our oceans by removing as much plastic waste as they can and recycling it into something new: fashionable active-wear. Shop 20% off their range this weekend.
This vegan beauty company is formulated in Cork and produced in Offaly to the highest standards. Shop for 15% to 30% off their skincare range until November 30 and receive a free canvas carry pouch and bar of botanical soup with your order.
Quite literally turn this weekend green by ordering a potted tree for 30% off from this family-run business in Cork. Nationwide delivery available.
Hand-made in Dublin, Green Angel beauty products are created from a pure blend of organic seaweed and essential oils, making them perfect for sensitive skin. Shop online for up to 45% off this week.
The super-cool Dean Hotel chain is offering 25% off of their best available rates in their new Cork city hotel from its opening on December 10 until the end of March 2021. Offer ends November 30.
Shop for 20% off a selection of Giftsdirect's hamper range from November 26 to 30. Their five-star Classical hamper, which includes a range of luxury biscuits, chocolates, wines, Christmas cakes, and other goodies will be one of the must-haves featured. Giftsdirect will also be offering free delivery within Ireland, but they ship internationally too if you wish to send a special Irish gift abroad.
Award-winning Cork hair salon Wayne Lloyd is offering 20% off selected products from its online shop with the code CYBER20.
Use the code BLACKFRIDAY10 on Boru's website this weekend to get 10% off their range of Celtic jewelry sitewide.
This Cork-based landscape artist has been holding weekend specials on her website since lockdown began. However, this weekend, get 20% off the entire website and find five new pieces available too.
Blarney Woolen Mills is offering up to 60% off a range of items this weekend, including its famous stock of Aran jumpers.
Electrical items are some of the most frequently bought on Black Friday. Get yours from this Irish retailer which has some great deals on TVs, headphones, and more this Black Friday.
Receive a Chlobo bracelet, worth €69, for free when you spend €95 on any items from the ChloBo collection on Fallers' website this weekend. Spend €195 and get both the bracelet and a necklace worth €138 for free with your order.
TRI Equestrian are suppliers of equestrian clothes and footwear, saddlery and tack, plus horse-related gifts and books. Get 20% off at checkout from now until December 2.
Visit this beautiful Kilkenny hotel by booking luxurious overnight stays from €99, including breakfast, and 10% off its online gift vouchers this Black Friday.
Enjoy room sales (for as little as €69) and 10% off all gift vouchers for this award-winning hotel based in Skibbereen, Co Cork this weekend.
La Bougie's luxury candles are hand-poured in their Cork location to the highest standards. Enjoy a free hand sanitizer (worth €8) and free nationwide delivery with any order over €50 at the moment.
Enjoy up to 65% off a huge range of products on McCabes Pharmacy's website for Black Friday. Free delivery also available for orders over €38.
While these bad boys aren't necessarily on sale, this is the time to nab them as there are only 500 available and they have launched just in time for this weekend. Heinz's Christmas jumpers cost only €25 with all proceeds going to Barnardos.
Three has unveiled its Black Friday offerings by placing a black tag on products with incredible savings from Thursday to Sunday online.
Treat someone you love with 10% off all Castlemartyr Resort gift vouchers bought online this weekend.
From November 20 to 30, enjoy €30 off some of the most popular heated styling tools from Peter Mark, including ghd stylers and the L’Oréal Steampod.
This Cork art studio has 20% off all of its prints this week for Green Friday.
Enjoy a 10% discount on all gift vouchers for the beautiful Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork until December 1.
It's not Black Friday without Harvey Norman. Find huge discounts of up to 50% off on their range of home appliances from washing machines to fridges and dishwashers. Bonus: Free delivery nationwide for orders over €50 throughout the weekend and Cyber Monday.
Shop Lucy Nagle's website now for 20% off a huge range of her luxurious cashmere sweaters, a favorite of fashionista Pippa O'Connor.
- For more local shopping options, check out our list of 250 Munster shops and businesses you can support online here.