Will Brits tighten their belts on Black Friday?

Written by: Rachel Miller

Date: 21 November 2023

A woman with bags of Black Friday shopping

There are a range of predictions for this weekend's Black Friday sales in the UK, with one study suggesting that Brits will spend half as much as they did last year.

A survey of 2,000 British shoppers by SAP Emarsys has found that the average amount spent by each British shopper on Black Friday could fall by £142, representing a 50% drop compared to 2022. With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to put consumers under pressure, the study suggests that the average Brit is set to spend just £141 this Black Friday down from an average of £283 in 2022.

Even so, researchers believe shoppers will try to do much of their Christmas shopping over the Black Friday sales weekend. The same study has found that over a quarter (27%) of British shoppers plan to purchase most of their Christmas gifts in the Black Friday sales - almost three times the amount who did last year (10%).

Gen Z to spend the most on Black Friday

Drilling down into the findings, it has emerged that Gen Z is set to lead the shopping spree this Black Friday. While over-55s are looking to spend just £64 on average, 16-24-year olds will splurge £298, 366% more than the older generation.

SAP has warned businesses that they need to focus beyond one-off discounts to build their customer base. Commenting on the findings, Roy Robinson, chief product officer at SAP Emarsys partner Mention Me, said: "A lot of brands lose momentum after the festive season - they use discounts in their favour to bring in new customers, but these shoppers aren't guaranteed to return to make another purchase.

"This can become a vicious circle for brands as they continue running discounts - despite the costs involved - to win them back time and time again. Instead, brands should look to deliver highly personalised, data-driven experiences which encourage customers to become active brand advocates, bringing their friends and family to buy with you as well. These new customers are predisposed to love your brand, spend more and be more loyal helping you break this cycle of discounting."

Cautious consumers will wait until Cyber Monday

Meanwhile, research commissioned by VoucherCodes has found that UK retail sales are predicted to hit £8.74bn across Black Friday weekend, representing a year-on-year rise of just 0.4%. The data suggests that many consumers will exercise caution by waiting until Cyber Monday to get the best deals.

"It's clear from our data that people will be using the [Black Friday] weekend to stock up on presents ahead of Christmas, however, shoppers will be making much more considered purchases this year - with many expected to wait until Cyber Monday to ensure they are getting the best deals. This year more than ever, retailers should think about how they can provide genuine value and make the customer experience as convenient as possible. Offering services such as free shipping, click and collect, and nominated day delivery can help build loyalty with your customers and differentiate you from your competitors." Michael Brandy, senior commercial director at VoucherCodes.

Despite rising living costs putting pressure on personal finances, 40% of consumers say they are likely to make a purchase over the Black Friday weekend. Nearly half (46%) of shoppers plan to pick-up big-ticket items such as electricals, followed by clothing and footwear (44%), toys (35%) and cosmetics (30%).

Written by Rachel Miller.

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