Black Friday is nearly upon us, and stores are preparing for what they hope is a rush of customers over the day. But over the recent years many customers have been moving to online platforms for the shopping craze.

With no need to venture out into the cold and drizzle or battle with others for the perfect present, going online is seemingly the best way for many to shop. Online stores are also starting Black Friday sales weeks before the actual day.

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Amazon started their sales on November 14 quickly followed by Morrisons, Argos and online outlets like Asos, giving them an edge over independent stores who wait for the official date.

Additionally, online stores are competing with each other as the sales roll over until Cyber Monday next week. The sales can cause prices to be driven down lower than expected as online marketplaces try to price match to get more shoppers increasing incentive to go online.

With the increased number of customers online, are independent stores being starved of customers?

Some independent stores have used Twitter to encourage shoppers to go local.

Whilst others like Scarramouch on Cheltenham High Street won’t be doing any sales at all. Michelle Midwinter who works there said:” We don’t get the sort of customer who cares about Black Friday. They are regulars who buy the same things and have been coming here for years.”

She continued: “I don’t think the sales threaten shops like this because Black Friday is more about electrical and white goods like microwaves and TVs.”

Many of the independent shops in Cheltenham sell hand crafted or niche items which are bought in person more often than online. For these shops, their main online competitors are Etsy stores.

With more shoppers going online, stores and supermarkets are emptying on Black Friday. So for those who like to browse in person it seems like it will be another normal day but with a bargain.

Britain’s shoppers are expected to spend nearly £2 billion on the day, making it the biggest shopping day of the year, with the sales to continue over the weekend.

Do you prefer shopping online or in-store on Black Friday? Let us know on twitter @Jnews_L6  .

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