Despite falling consumer confidence, there is positive news for UK retailers this November as British shoppers are set to spend £8.57bn snapping up deals this Black Friday weekend and 87% say they will spend the same or more than last year in what’s set to be a record-breaking year for retailers.
New research, commissioned by VoucherCodes.co.uk and carried out by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), reveals that the UK is set to spend £2.53bn on Black Friday (29th November) alone, a 3.4% increase on 2018 – generating an astonishing £8.57bn in sales across the four days to Cyber Monday, and equating to an average of £2.48m each minute of the weekend.
Meanwhile, a separate study by Accenture, reveals that despite gloomy retail sales predictions, most UK shoppers (87%) set to spend the same or more than last year this festive season. More than half of Brits (57%) believe that political uncertainty will have no impact on their festive spending whatsoever.
In-store v online spend
Whilst traditionally seen as an in-store event, the report’s analysis of UK shopping habits proves that consumers are increasingly opting to shop online, away from the manic in-store environments commonly associated with Black Friday weekend, says Vouchercodes.
Whilst offline sales (£4.80bn) are still anticipated to outstrip online purchases in 2019 (£3.77bn), online sales are expected to grow by 8.3%, with in-store forecasts dropping 0.2% on last year. Interestingly, the UK is ahead of other European countries in this behaviour, as the only country included within the report to show a decrease in offline purchases – although there are signs that the rest of Europe is set to follow in this shift.
Young v old
According to Accenture, younger shoppers are driving this trend, with 45% of younger millennials and 38% of Gen Z looking to spend more. Among those that plan to increase spending, most money will be going towards festive dining, children’s toys and clothing.
Driving sales through savings
Last year, VoucherCodes.co.uk generated £14.25m in gross retail sales for its retailers across the Black Friday weekend as a result of offering consumers thousands of unrivalled discounts, saving them almost £1m (£959k) over the course of the four-day event.
Almost three quarters (70.6%) of UK purchases made using a Black Friday weekend discount are predicted to be made between Friday – Sunday. However, with the UK’s appetite for Black Friday larger than ever, the report predicts that savvy retailers will opt to extend discount periods for a full two weeks. Taking this into account, retailers could be set to make 29.57bn in just 14 days.
UK v Europe
The UK’s Black Friday spend is forecast to be the biggest in Europe – 29% higher than Germany (the second biggest spenders) and more than Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands combined. The £8.57bn forecast represents a 3.4% increase on 2018 spending and means retailers are set to make £2.48m each minute of the weekend.
Cyber Monday and beyond
While there is much attention on Black Friday, shoppers are also looking to buy beyond that. According to Accenture, the online world’s dedicated shopping day – Cyber Monday – is the least important shopping period for Brits, with only 37% saying they prefer to shop on Cyber Monday, compared to 47% in the last weekend before Christmas.
Additionally, the retail sector may see the boost from spending in the new year, with nearly half of shoppers planning to leave most of their shopping to the last weekend before Christmas, followed by 42% preferring to leave it to post-Christmas and Boxing Day.
Andrew Carlisle, Retail Consulting Lead, Accenture UK&I, says: “There’s no doubt that it’s been an incredibly difficult year for retailers. There have already been more job losses and more store closures than 2018 – with the year not even being up yet. But the high street gloom doesn’t seem to have dampened shoppers’ spirits this festive season, buoyed by younger consumers planning to spend big over the holidays. What’s more is that spending for UK shoppers isn’t centered on a particular day, suggesting that the retailers that can sustain consumer interest beyond the key moments of Cyber Monday and Black Friday are set to benefit the most.”
Jimmy New, Director of Marketing at VoucherCodes.co.uk comments: “It’s clear from this year’s research that Black Friday weekend is more important than ever for UK retailers in the wake of the current economic uncertainty. It’s particularly encouraging to see that more consumers are going online to find their deals this year, not only will they get to avoid the crowds but they can also take advantage of the unrivalled discounts we’ll have on VoucherCodes this year.”
New concludes: “With increasing pressure on brands to offer the strongest discounts for longer time periods in order to secure sales, retailers need to ensure they implement well-planned discounting strategies and work closely with reliable partners to maximise the overall profits that can be. Black Friday can be a great event for brands, but promotions should be planned strategically to avoid any overspend and ensure maximum return.”