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UK shoppers to spend more this Black Friday despite dwindling appeal

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Black Friday may be splitting opinion but UK shoppers are expected to spend more despite UK consumers finding the American shopping phenomenon less appealing. A survey conducted by PwC shows that UK consumers are increasingly cynical about Black Friday deals. Other countries tracked for data include the opinions of consumers in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and South Africa, all of whom are more enthusiastic about Black Friday than the UK. 

Polarising opinion

According to PwC, Black Friday polarises opinion amongst UK shoppers with just over half (52 percent) of UK consumers either interested or planning to buy something November 29th. UK shoppers plan to spend 11 percent more than last year, research shows, an average of 224 pounds, as the global retail event hits the high street at the end of this month.

There continues to be a gender divide with men planning to spend a third more than women and being more likely to treat themselves (77 percent). Black Friday remains a key shopping event for electricals with over half of UK shoppers planning to buy the latest tech

Unappealing bargains

Conversely, of those in the UK likely to spend less this year, almost a third believe that the deals aren’t exciting, while 20 percent believe that deals aren’t actually genuine. Under 25 year olds are particularly unimpressed by Black Friday, with the lowest projected spend of just 111 pounds, an 11 percent decline on last year.

Amongst those hoping to find a bargain, this year’s average planned spend is up 21 pounds (to 224 pounds), with 35-44 year-olds planning to spend the most (up 32 to 288 pounds). Around the UK, Londoners are planning to spend the most (an average of 326 pounds), twice more than Scottish consumers (155 pounds).

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said: “While it’s become a firm fixture in the retail calendar, Black Friday is perhaps also the most polarising. We’re seeing growing scepticism towards the event, with nearly half of respondents claiming to be uninterested in Black Friday promotions, or avoiding it altogether.

“Some consumers doubt the quality of the deals on offer, with many seeing them as not especially good value or not worthy of interest, and this is likely to have been exacerbated as Black Friday deals have spread to the whole of “Blackvember”.

“This situation creates an interesting conundrum for retailers, who still need to serve the 52 percent of consumers who are looking forward to Black Friday for deals, or as an integral way of saving money for Christmas without alienating those not interested.”

“Retailers clearly can’t ignore the event and do not want to risk losing out to rivals, but they need to manage it smartly and inject newness (and reasons to shop at full price) during the peak Christmas trading weeks.  And for certain retailers, such as those in the electricals and technology sector, Black Friday is a non-negotiable.”

Fashion tops the shopping list for other countries

Other countries surveyed are more interested in fashion, which is the top category of interest for the French (53 percent) and the Dutch (46 percent), and the second most popular category in Germany (44 percent), Ireland (42 percent) and South Africa (49 percent). In comparison, fewer than a third of UK shoppers (29 percent) say they’re on the look out for fashion bargains, which is significantly lower than the 45 percent who said this last year.

A number of UK fashion retailers stated they will be offering discounts across Black Friday following a slow September month as sales of clothing suffered due to the unseasonably warm weather.

The report is based on an online survey by PwC of over 10,000 adults from across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Germany, the Netherlands and France. The survey was conducted in October 2019.

Photo credit: Lisa Fotios, Pexels

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