‘We have to do something’: Norwegians warned about Black Friday spending

An environmental organization has encouraged Norwegians to think carefully before spending money on consumer goods, with more than one in three expected to shop during this year’s Black Friday.

'We have to do something': Norwegians warned about Black Friday spending
Photo: AFP

Last year, 36 percent of people in Norway us shopped on Black Friday, with online shopping preferred to physical stores.

In a recent survey carried out by the National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO), thousands of Norwegians outlined their purchasing patterns on Black Friday last year.

Clothes were the most commonly-purchased consumer good, while sports and leisure equipment, computers and personal care items were also popular.

“Our findings indicate that the purchases are largely planned and that people buy things that they would have bought anyway, such as Christmas presents,” SIFO researcher Arne Dulsrud told newspaper VG.

The survey found around a third of the purchases on Black Friday 2018 were intended as Christmas presents.

That undermines the image of the Black Friday shopper as impulsive, according to the researcher.

“But we are not saying that (Black Friday) does not contribute to over-shopping or pressure on consumers to buy things,” he told VG.

“With regard to clothes and electronics such as televisions, I think Black Friday can increase the rate of replacement and thus increase the impact on the environment, he added.

Anja Bakken Riise, leader of environmental NGO Framtiden i våre hender (Future in Our Hands), said Black Friday was a challenge for environmentally-conscious consumers.

“Our consumption of clothes, shoes, electronics and plastic items has consequences for both people and the environment when things are produced, used and discarded. So we have to do something about our consumption,” Riise told VG via a written statement.

Although agreeing it makes sense to buy needed items when they are on sale, the NGO leader encouraged careful consideration.

“It’s a good idea to think about it several times. Do you, or does the person you are buying it for, really need it?”, she said.

Black Friday has established itself as one of the shopping biggest days of the year in Norway, with trade on the day in 2018 totalling 3.7 billion from Norwegian online and physical stores.

That could increase to 3.8 billion kroner this year, according to an estimate from the Enterprise Federation of Norway (Virke), VG writes.

The SIFO survey also found that educational background and economic status were not a major factor on whether someone might shop on Black Friday in Norway. But households with children do shop more than others.

Very few people over 67 years shopped on Black Friday, the activity being significantly more popular with those in their 20s and 30s, more than half of whom spent splashed their cash.

Of those who shopped on Black Friday last year, 46 percent did so in an online store, 32 percent in shopping centres or malls and three percent at outlets.

Average spending per person was 1,835 kroner.

READ ALSO: How Halloween became a 'culturally-adapted' Norwegian autumn ritual

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Key trial begins in Switzerland over protests against climate change

About 30 activists went on trial on Tuesday for blockading a Swiss shopping mall in a case seen testing the defence that they were justified because of the global climate emergency.

Key trial begins in Switzerland over protests against climate change
A member of the Red Rebel Brigade hugs a climate activist prior to the opening of the trial of 31 climate activists from Climate Strike and Extinction Rebellion (XR) movements who blocked access to a shopping centre in 2019 on May 25, 2021 in Fribourg. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

The campaigners, mostly aged between 19 and 25, were previously found to have acted illegally when they protested against the promotion of “Black Friday” — a now-global shopping festival held every November 29th that the activists said was an unsustainable celebration of consumption.

Swiss courts have in the past sometimes ruled that such acts of civil disobedience were justified because of the urgency of the global fight to combat climate change.

The case, due to last for four days, is the biggest trial related to climate change issues in Switzerland to date, according to media reports.

On November 29th, 2019, demonstrations were staged at shopping malls across Europe in the first “Block Friday” to denounce the environmental toll of mass consumption, according to the Extinction Rebellion network.

In the latest case, the activists were fined for taking part in an unauthorised protest, disturbing public order and disobeying police, according to Swiss news agency ATS.

But the environmentalists are challenging the penalties handed down by prosecutors.

The trial is already promising to prove contentious. The dozen lawyers for the defence complained some weeks ago that the presiding judge had not granted them the right to call certain expert witnesses — among them, Nobel chemistry prize winner and environmental advocate Jacques Dubochet.

While trials of climate activists have multiplied in recent months in Switzerland, defence lawyers have repeatedly, and sometimes successfully, invoked a “state of necessity” due to the climate emergency.

In January 2020, a judge accepted that defence in the case of 12 activists who had entered a branch of Credit Suisse in November 2018 dressed up as Roger Federer.

They were protesting against the investments in fossil fuels by the bank, a key sponsor of the Swiss tennis star.

The judge ruled that their actions were legitimate in the face of the climate emergency.

That ruling was overturned on appeal, with the higher court arguing that the activists could have used other legal means.

But last October, a Geneva court of appeal in turn acquitted a young activist who in 2018 vandalised the headquarters of Credit Suisse in another protest against its fossil fuel investments, citing “the state of necessity” in the face of the climate emergency.