3 Outdoor Brands that Boycott the Black Friday Craze

Brand & Positioning Strategy
Site & eCommerce
September 29, 2021
Sporting Goods & Outdoor

Key Takeaways

Despite the fact that the US has witnessed the two largest online spending days in history in 2020 — Cyber Monday and Black Friday, some sustainable and environmentally-conscious brands boycott the Black Friday craze:

  • Patagonia — Donates Black Friday Profits to Environmental Causes and Promote Repairs Instead of Buying New Things: Patagonia made waves in 2016 when the brand pledged to donate all of its Black Friday sales to fight environmental changes. In the following years, the brand shifted focus and called its audience to buy less and when necessary shop from the pre-used section.
  • REI — Closes all of its stores to give a day off to its employees: REI, an outdoor apparel and gear retailer, closes all its store on Black Friday. The brand calls its customers to spend a day in nature.  
  • Maium — Takes its e-commerce store offline: Maium, a rainproof outerwear brand from the Netherlands, takes its e-commerce store offline for the whole day of Black Friday and plants 10 trees per raincoat purchased during the following week. 

Patagonia

Patagonia has stopped participating in the Black Friday shopping craze in 2016. 

Stance: In 2016 the brand made waves for pledging to donate 100% of its Black Friday profits. 

Alternative: Instead of promoting discounted items, the brand encourages its employees and customers to spend a day outside. In recent years, the brand also encouraged its followers to buy from the re-sale section on Patagonia's website rather than purchasing a new item.

In 2016, when Patagonia promised to donate all of its Black Friday sales to an environmental cause. The brand generated $10 million in sales and donated it to "benefit the planet."

In 2020, the brand drew the attention of its email subscribers to the environmental pollution caused by the clothing industry and called to buy less. On Cyber Monday, Patagonia followed up with another email containing a similar message and encouraging its audience to consider buying used items from Patagonia’s section and re-sell their pre-loved garments. 

On Instagram, Patagonia posted a film aimed to raise awareness about the environmental impact of consumerism and called to be critical about greenwashing.

Despite Patagonia’s anti-Black Friday campaigns, its website visits spike every November (+54% vs. avg. monthly traffic) during the holiday shopping season.

REI

Recreational Equipment, Inc. has been serving outdoor communities since 1938. In 2015 the company started closing its stores on Black Friday. 

Stance: REI continues this tradition because they “believe in putting purpose before profits.”

Alternative: The company gives a day off to all of its employees to #OptOutside with their family and friends. 

REI has a page on its website explaining its position and calling the community to spend time outside.

On Instagram, REI noted that its stores will be closed on Black Friday; the brand encouraged its customers to use the hashtag #OutOutside (the hashtag the brand uses to collect pictures snapped outdoors). However, the retailer announced a one-day sale on Cyber Monday.

ER: 0.2% | Benchmark: 0.4% 

ER: 0.5% | Benchmark: 0.4% 

In November 2020, 26.3M users visited REI’s website, which is a  26% increase compared to the previous year.

Maium

Maium is a sustainable outerwear brand from Amsterdam that produces raincoats made out of recycled plastic.

Stance: The brand takes its website down on Black Friday as a step to fight impulse buying and consumerism.

Alternative: The brand announced that it will plant ten trees for every piece of outerwear sold for the following week. 

On Black Friday in 2020, Maium took its website offline and promised to plant 10 trees for every raincoat sold the following week.

Unlike other brands, Maium did not see a spike in traffic during the holiday shopping period (November).

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