In a post-Brexit Britain, US imports may well be commonplace. Whether it is chlorinated chicken or an invasion of private healthcare, life in the UK may be set to feel the impact of an American makeover.
But one convention that Brits have already borrowed from our cousins across the pond is Black Friday.
Born in the USA, Black Friday offers consumers glorious deals in abundance, ranging from 1p off on a McVitie’s biscuit selection box at Aldi, to nearly £1,000 off a new TV with Currys. The explosion of offers has led to a tidal wave of savvy shoppers and a buying bonanza.
As much as £8.57bn may be spent by Brits for the full four-day Black Friday weekend, including Cyber Monday, an average of £129 spent by every person in the UK.
With the high street in crisis, many in the retail sector had hoped that enticing Black Friday deals might be able to lure enough people in and breathe a little life into the high street again.
But the big winner was e-commerce, with online sales expected to make up 77% of total Black Friday transactions. This figure will do little to reassure high street retailers that their future is secure.
The high street cannot rely on just a few major sales events a year. It remains a crucial aspect of life for millions of Brits, not just for jobs but for community engagement, infrastructure and the local economy. What the high street needs is a step-change in strategy.
Mixed-use development is an ideal place to start. Increasing the volume of housing and office space on the high street will help increase footfall. With the ever-growing prevalence of empty shopping space, converting retail to residential can bring new faces and new purposes to town centres.
Technology could play a part too. Although tech giants like Amazon may have played a major part in the downturn of the high street, technology could also be harnessed to bring our high streets into the 21st Century. Firstly, Amazon is partnering with bricks and mortar retailers so that customers can click and collect at shops like Next. And the roll out of 5G technology could be a boon to retailers by helping them better understand their customers through data analytics. Indeed, some estimates reckon global retail could benefit from a $1.2trn boost from the implementation of the Internet of Things into the sector.
Events like Black Friday only stay the execution of the high street; to bring it back to its glory days, intelligent design and strategic change will be necessary.