For the last decade or so, the allure of Black Friday shopping—and the deals that the holiday provides—has slowly begun losing its allure to consumers. And as the focus on substituting more sustainable alternatives for some of humans’ worst habits has sharpened, it’s easy to understand why.
Over-consumption has long plagued the American lifestyle—people often buy more than what they actually need. And while the issue sounds light in theory, this unhealthy level of consumerism has managed to create a massive waste problem for our planet. Last year alone, Black Friday shoppers were reported as having spent nearly $7.4 billion in the second largest online sales day ever. And that number is expected to increase this year—particularly in the online shopping division, where the fears brought on by the pandemic have inspired many consumers to transition their holiday purchases to the digital realm, rather than in-person and at a store.
Supporting businesses and contributing to the economy are good things—but historically, Black Friday has worked most in favor of larger corporations rather than small businesses. And with the financial and physical devastation brought to America through COVID-19, a large percentage of these companies can’t afford a poor performance during this year’s holiday season.
In fact, it’s been reported that nearly 60% of business closures due to the pandemic are permanent. In the meantime, billion-dollar companies have continued to increase their profits, with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seeing a reported 80% jump in his net worth this year alone. The social and environmental consequences brought on Black Friday are undeniable. As a result, a record numbers of companies are encouraging consumers to “break tradition, not the planet,” by boycotting the holiday altogether. Here are some of the most notable brands that are choosing sustainable initiatives over wasteful sales strategies.
Don’t expect any Black Friday discounts at Allbirds, as the sustainable sneaker company will actually be raising prices in an effort to boycott the unnecessary consumerism promoted through the the holiday. The company will match the difference in the item price increase, and that amount will be donated to the climate change campaign, Fridays for Future, which is led by young activist Greta Thunberg.
This isn’t the first year that Patagonia has opted out of participating in Black Friday—and based off of their longterm mission, it certainly won’t be the last either. The brand will be donating a portion of its Black Friday sales to environmental causes. They’re also placing a particular emphasis in marketing their secondhand program, Worn Wear—which acts as an alternative to contributing to the mass consumption of Black Friday.
This fashion rental platform has introduced their own spin on the famed holiday, coining the term “Hack Friday”—which will encourage consumers to boycott the event via a number of different initiatives.
HURR‘s co-founder, Victoria Prew, will participate in Style Intelligence’s five-part video series, which is expected to answer popular questions around sustainability in fashion. Hurr will also be launching discounted gift cards on the holiday, with the hopes of inspiring shoppers to rent instead of buy.
The Swedish menswear brand, Asket, will be participating in an especially unique Black Friday boycott, by collaborating with fashion photographer Jonathan Daniel Price on a photo series that will visually depict the real problems with discounting and the holiday as a whole.