BOXING DAY SALES: Thousands of UK shoppers queue up from midnight

Newcastle – VIJAY SHAH via ED RILEY and Mail Online/Daily Mail

Today sees the launch of special Boxing Day sales promotions on high streets and shopping centres across the United Kingdom, with thousands of keen bargain hunters said to be queuing up outside shops from midnight in some places, reports the newspaper Daily Mail.

Ahead of an expected bumper day of GBP 4.75 billion flowing through the tills of Britain’s retailers, reports came in from Newcastle and Birmingham of massive queues in the dead of night, when most people would be sleeping off their Christmas roast dinners. In the northern city of Newcastle, shoppers were seen sitting on the pavement, huddled in blankets and decked in warm clothing.

In Newcastle, around 2,500 shoppers formed a queue at the Silverlink Retail Park, eagerly awaiting the opening of the Next superstore, which sells clothes, at 6 A.M. Next issued 1,300 tickets per shopper, as many as the store could legally contain, yet a 1,000 more will still waiting outside in the bitter north English cold. The store is reducing some of its lines by a hefty fifty per cent especially for the 26th of December.

 

One shopper told the Mail: “We ordered pizza at 3am to warm ourselves up.

‘Some people might think it’s extreme to wait for five hours for a shop to open, but we don’t want all the best deals to be gone by the time we get inside.

‘I am sure it will be worth it!’

Large early morning queues were also reported in Manchester’s Trafford centre. Across the country, many shoppers took their queue positions from as early as 12 or 1 AM, it was reported. Queues stretched around the block, with hundreds of participants.

Out of the projected £4.75 billion spend today, 3.71 billion is expected to come from purchases at physical stores, with the remaining £1.04 billion coming from online sales, according to research published by the Centre for Retail Research in tandem with Vouchercodes, a UK shopping discount website. Research from credit card company Barclaycard supported the Centre’s own findings, stating that that four in ten UK adults plan to shop in the sales over the Boxing Day period, anticipating an average spend of £188 each. Boxing Day is the most popular day to shop during the Christmas sales period, according to Barclaycard, with three in ten Britons planning to hit the sales on December 26 specifically.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Boxing Day was the biggest spending day ever last year, and will be bigger again this year.

‘Spending of £3.7billion in stores and a billion online will be so high because shops and customers keep saying that almost all shoppers will focus on day one of the sales, to get the best deals.

‘Research also shows many shoppers will spend all their money in one go, unlike a few years ago when people would go to the sales several times over a week or two.

‘Now it’s a Black Friday-style rush on the first day.”

The operations director for major shopping centre owner intu, Gordon McKinnon, added: “The Boxing Day bonanza will see many shoppers brave early morning winter weather to have first pick of the bargains.”

Konrad Kelling, managing director of customer solutions at Barclaycard, said: “Whilst most plan to spend Boxing Day with friends and family, Brits also don’t want to miss out on the best deals to be had.

‘Surprisingly, men plan to spend more than women in the sales this year – whether that be staying up late to buy that must-have item or even browsing online during the family festivities.”

Kelling also acknowledged that not all shoppers were prepared to go to the extreme length of waiting in the hours of the early morning in freezing conditions, adding: “Boxing Day remains the most popular day to shop for bargains over the Christmas period. However, this year the majority of consumers plan to shop online from the comfort and convenience of their own home rather than braving the winter weather and crowds on the high street.”

The British high street industry has suffered numerous setbacks over the past year, with significant store closures and collapses of some famous high street names, as more people opt to shop online. Though the record-breaking Boxing Day sales of 2018 could temporarily halt this decline, many store managers and CEOs are still feeling uneasy about the future of the big chain store in the face of online competitors.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell/Facebook.

“The biggest Boxing Day sales ever! Thousands of bargain hunters queue from MIDNIGHT at shopping centres across Britain as they try to beat the rush ahead of £4.75BILLION festive spending spree” – Ed Riley, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (26 December 2018) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6529703/Thousands-bargain-hunters-queue-MIDNIGHT-ahead-Boxing-Day-sales.html?ito=social-facebook

IMAGE CREDIT:

“London December 24 2016 (17) Sale Starts Boxing Day” – DAVID HOLT, Flickr (24 December 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/zongo/31846107145

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COKE Vs. PEPSI: Coca-Cola drinkers do better in life

Vijay Shah

English: A Coke pin
English: A Coke pin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cola brands Coca-Cola and Pepsi have long battled it out to be the soft drink of choice, with millions of US dollars spent annually on advertising campaigns including lucrative tie-ins with celebrities as well as their never-ending domination of the international drinks market. Despised by health campaigners for their high sugar content and loved by thirsty people everywhere, the two kings of cola have become an inescapable part of modern consumerist culture. 

Dating from the 19th century and originally developed as a medicinal product, Coca-Cola has historically usually retained the dominant market share over Pepsi, although Pepsi has long challenged this with a flurry of highly successful marketing campaigns, including the infamous ‘Pepsi Challenge’ of the 1980s, in which members of the public were invited to sample Pepsi and other colas in a blind taste test in the hope that they would inevitably find Pepsico‘s flagship product the better-tasting. The televised taste tests involving random strangers in shopping malls lead to a very tough skirmish in the Great War of Fizzy Pop fought between the company and arch-rival Coca-Cola-Schweppes Inc, which did earnestly helped Pepsi capitalise on the lift it got from its promotions involving the late pop singer Michael Jackson.

pepsi
pepsi (Photo credit: *Sally M*)

The fact that both Coca-Cola and Pepsi are now positioned as an integral cause-and-effect on our lives now has not gone unnoticed. Apart from being blamed for adding fuel to the fire in the obesity crisis affecting developed countries, a report by mercantile magazine Business Insider claims that consumption of cola can even affect, or at least make a statement on, how successful you are in life, from your academic and employment prospects, to the kind of friends you keep.

Now doing the rounds on Twitter, the Business Insider article (published in 2011) quotes from a study that claims with near-scientific precision that drinkers of Coca-Cola are more likely to have graduated from university (college) than Pepsi drinkers.  They are more likely to be multilingual, which might explain why Coca-Cola is very popular in multi-ethnic localities and in countries where several languages are spoken.

The report, by a technological research company named Hunch.com and sent out from their HQ in New York City, also claims Coke drinkers have more varied and ‘middle-class’ tastes in food. They are more likely to plump for exotic munches like sushi and caviar, while at least in my experience, any east Londoner can tell you that Pepsi works wonders with a side of chicken burger and chips. Not surprisingly  the report claims that Pepsi drinkers are more insular in their snack choices, at least in America, where their meal of the day is overwhelmingly American cuisine. You can appreciate the international mindset of Coke drinkers further, as the report further claims that they are six more times likely to own a passport than the less well-travelled consumer of Pepsi. In fact, the average Pepsi drinker may have not seen the inside of a plane or coach in at least six months.

Not only are Coke drinkers more likely to be educated to tertiary level on average but they are more likely to be popular with their future boss as well. The average Coke drinker will have a marked tendency to show up early for interviews or the start of the working shift, whereas Pepsi drinkers will either breeze in at the exact time or even show up late, which might not do their employment chances much a load of good.

In the US again, the discerning Coke fan chooses more intricate reading material for leisure and news, preferring to read the New York Times on their lunch breaks at the sushi bar, while Pepsi pickers will leaf through something tabloidy like USA Today.

Soft Drink Crates, Bangkok
Soft Drink Crates, Bangkok (Photo credit: Austronesian Expeditions)

It’s not just what they eat or read that is vastly different. Coke and Pepsi drinkers  have very different attitudes towards entertainment too. A Coke consumer will more likely be hanging out at the art gallery, theatre or some other cultural venue appreciating the intellectual and informative, while Pepsi drinkers are more inclined to stay at home, drape over the sofa and watch the flicker of a plasma screen, with a cold glass of the blue-labelled cola-nut infused stuff in hand no doubt. Ironically many places of interest will not allow any soft drinks to be consumed on their premises.

Speaking of television, the report also shows a differences in the viewing habits of American coke lovers. The average Coke drinker will watch more mentally-involving shows like CSI and David Sedaris, while Pepsi drinkers prefer light entertainment and chat shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and Ellen DeGeneres.

The research certainly has thrown up some interesting facts about these two very different classes of soft drinks consumers, but it is also a snapshot of how brand affinity is welded to socio-economic group in the north American continent, even though Coke and Pepsi are more or less the same product in different coloured packaging. What it also reminds us as well is that how people have now defined themselves, their personalities and their outlooks using brands as the pegs to construct popularity and societal acceptance. Consumers are now using brands as markers of self-definition, as advertising becomes more inescapable in the ‘Internet age’.

For those who are curious as to whether this article’s author prefers Coca-Cola or Pepsi… normally I prefer Coke, but when I am eating a fiery curry or sweltering in 30*C-plus heat, I honestly do not care.

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SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय } on Twitter LINK
OMG Facts on Twitter LINK
“Coke drinkers are more likely to have graduated college than Pepsi drinkers!” – OMG Facts LINK
“The REAL Differences Between Coke And Pepsi People” – Alana Horowitz, Business Insider/Business Insider, Inc. (13 May 2011) LINK
“About Hunch” – Hunch Inc. LINK