Black Friday in Germany Posted by on Nov 27, 2020 in Culture, Current Events, Holidays, Intercultural, Language, Things to do, vocabulary

Some years ago, we discussed the Schwarzer Freitag (Black Friday) in Germany. It is not remembered as a good day, as it refers to one of the worst days of the 1929 financial crisis. The shopping spree Friday exists in Germany, too, though. In that last post, I provided some vocabulary to make shopping in Germany a bit easier on this day. But today, let’s do something else – let’s have a look at some Werbekampagnen (ad campaigns) in Germany around Black Friday. I’ll also highlight some contrasting opinions about the day in Germany, as it is not without its controversy.

Werbekampagnen in Germany

Full shopping streets – we’re probably not going to see much of that this year (Image by Kevin Dowling at

If you want to find the riches of German Schnäppchen (deals) and Werbekampagnen, this website is a pretty good start. It lists different Black Friday-Angebote (Black Friday offers) available at various stores. Like all over these days, in Germany Black Friday transformed into a week- or even month-long event. So you are likely to see Black Friday Week or Black Week, for example. And yes, you’ll always just see it in English – Schwarze Woche simply sounds dark and depressing.

According to Statista, especially Elektronikartikel (electronics) and Mode und Accessoires (fashion and accessories), together making up half of the Schnäppchenkäufe (deal shopping) done around Black Friday. So let’s have a look at those categories.

Playing into the 2020 blues, Samsung lists its Angebote with the caption Dieses Jahr braucht bunte Deals (This year needs colorful deals) and So wird aus ’20 doch noch was! (This way, 2020 will be something after all!). Saturn, a big box electronics store has its history with Werbekampagnen. It was criticized for its long-time slogan Geiz ist geil (“stinginess is awesome”, basically), as it encouraged consumers to only look at the lowest price, making it difficult for smaller competitors. But that is a story for another time. Its attitude definitely changed, now only advertising with die besten Angebote des Jahres (“The best deals of the year”).

Otto is a cornerstone of German online shopping. It’s a store famous for its Ottokatalog (Otto catalogue), a behemoth that offers all kinds of products that can be ordered by telephone or online. It offers electronics, homeware, furniture, fashion and more. Like many things, most of that has gone online these days. On their website, Otto has a rather understated Black-Friday-Deals section – but at least it has deals on many different products!


Image by Markus Spiske at

But there is also criticism in Germany towards Black Friday. Some say it’s just a Rabattschlacht (discount battle) that leads to buying Dinge, die niemand braucht (things nobody needs). And that, in turn, may even make you less glücklich (happy) than you were before owning that new, shiny item! And many people are simply annoyed at all the busy streets and long Schlangen (lines) everywhere. As Vicky Isabelle Bargel, Redakteurin (editor) at t3n, a German tech news site, puts it: Des einen Schnäppchenmarathon ist des anderen Shoppinghölle (One’s deal marathon is another’s shopping hell).

In her Kommentar (opinion piece), Ms Bargel says she thinks the Konsumkritik (consumer criticism) is arrogant (arrogant). It would be abgehoben (out of touch) to criticize the Schnäppchenjäger (deal hunters), because “nicht jeder kann es sich in der Vorweihnachtszeit leisten, auf Angebote zu verzichten” (not everyone can afford to pass up on deals in the pre-Christmas season), she says.

What everyone can agree on, however, is that it’s not a bad idea to avoid the Kaufrausch (shopping frenzy) and to heed the Schnäppchen that aren’t really Schnäppchen!

What do you think about Black Friday, and how is it in your country? Let me know in the comments below!


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator and filmmaker.

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