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Flat Friday? Black Friday spending down 15% – but some areas still growing

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Black Friday spending will be down 15% compared to 2021, but a third of shoppers may yet spend more to get bargains for the year ahead as they believe it will be cheaper now than in the months to come.

New data released today predicts that Black Friday spending this year will be down from £2 bn to £1.7bn, with half of consumers (49%) planning to reduce spending due to having less available income.

As British shoppers struggle with soaring prices and energy bills as the cost of living crisis takes hold, households are expected to spend £177 each, down from £200 in 2021.

Nearly half (43%) said they will be less likely to purchase items over Black Friday because of the rising cost of energy bills as the mini budget announced in September does little to help consumer confidence. 

However, a third (33%) admitted that they intend to try and spend more as a way of offsetting price increases and taking advantage of the sales period to make their purchases while discounts are available, with 31% expecting to spend more on essential items they need for their families.

The research, commissioned by deal-sharing website hotukdeals in partnership with Retail Economics, surveyed more than 2,000 UK respondents examining their attitudes towards Black Friday spending for 2022 against the challenges of the economic climate and cost of living crisis.

While Brits are finding times tougher, many are still looking to Black Friday as a way to get the things they need for less, with 85% of shoppers using the event to get their Christmas shopping done and a third (33%) wanting to get all the gifts bought during this time. 

The data also showed that two thirds of Black Friday spending, £1.2bn, is expected to be online, however shoppers needing to bargain hunt will lead to multichannel behaviour with those seeking out deals expected to drive a larger proportion of in-store spending. 

Vix Leyton, savings expert at hotukdeals commented “We know UK shoppers are being more careful than ever when planning their spending for the next six months and they are clearly seeing Black Friday as an opportunity to try to beat the price hikes we’ve been seeing across all sectors. While overall spending looks like being down on previous years we still expect there to be heavy discounting as retailers look to kick-start the season of shopping especially in electronics and clothing categories. It is interesting to see food and drink will feature heavily on Black Friday shopping lists, as shoppers look to offset inflation on the little luxuries they can enjoy every day.”

Those feeling the pinch the most are expected to spend exclusively in-store rather than making online purchases with a third (28%) of less affluent shoppers looking to use cash as a way of keeping a track on their spending. This follows the trend of an increase in demand for cash reported by the Post Office this summer as happened during the last financial crisis of 2008. This group is also looking to focus their spending on food & drink they can enjoy at home over the festive period rather than more expensive big ticket purchases to treat themselves.

Most of the spending is expected to be led by Gen Z and Millennial shoppers as they focus their purchases on electrical items or clothing and footwear. Half of shoppers (51%) will spend on electricals, the most popular category during Black Friday, followed by 42% buying clothing and footwear and 30% purchasing toys and games in the run up to Christmas. 

The report also finds that emerging behaviours in recent months have seen shoppers cutting down on spending, with consumer confidence the lowest it’s been in nearly 50 years. As retailers continue to push to keep people spending and create new initiatives such as rewards programmes to give back to shoppers, Black Friday deals may not have a significant impact unless the discounts are high enough to tempt shoppers. 

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