We may be fresh from a July heatwave, but many retailers are already planning ahead for peak shopping season. Research from Future plc suggests that while the cost of living crisis is currently the top public priority, many will still be taking part in this year’s Black Friday period – the long-standing peak for online shopping.
The study questioned 2,462 UK adults via its own The Lens research platform in June 2022 and found that 91% of the shoppers that usually buy on Black Friday will be at least as engaged this year – even though 88% say they are concerned or very concerned about the cost of living. Almost half (45%) are keen to make Christmas bigger and better than ever.
More than half (51%) see Black Friday as a vital time of the year to make their money go as far as possible, while only 13% plan to cut their Black Friday spending. Similarly, about 20% will be cutting their overall festive budgets, reflecting that 45% are determined to make Christmas bigger and better than ever.
The study found that online marketplaces continue to be the preferred method of gift shopping for 51% of respondents, but that confidence is returning about shopping in-store, and a third (33%) expect to shop on the high street next Christmas.
Future says that almost all (99%) of its audience has at least one hobby – and most (94%) are looking for expert help and advice from trusted content ahead of Christmas. Value-for-money deals, gift ideas, discount vouchers and cooking recipes are among the top searched queries.
Future says that brand strategies must therefore focus on ensuring consumers receive the best possible prices, service, choice and value, working with premium publishers to access the targeted and engaged audiences that will benefit most from this content.
Although the cost of living affects businesses as well as consumers, 95% of the Future audience expect brands to take corrective action with 47% looking to brands to meet them halfway by reducing prices.
“Christmas and Black Friday are two strong anchor points in the calendar that seem increasingly non-negotiable in terms of engagement and involvement among UK consumers despite the cost of living crisis,” says Clare Dove, UK group commercial director at Future plc.
“Our research shows, however, that Brits will spend wisely during this time, carefully calculating their savings accumulated in lockdown, making pragmatic decisions to alter their lifestyles and seeking out valuable advice through content online to get the best deals.”