Customer Behaviour

Consumers are increasingly jaded by Black Friday deals, with the number of shoppers planning to embrace the shopping bonanza dropping from 57% in 2015 to 51% this year. As a result, Black Friday spend is predicted to rise modestly by 5.4% to £1.69bn – a sign that the growth of the shopping craze is slowing and possibly reaching its peak.

The research, commissioned by Webloyalty and carried out by retail research agency Conlumino found that 55% of shoppers perceive Black Friday to be too commercialised, 61% say it’s too busy and frantic and 60% believe the savings fail to live up to the hype. Only 40% said it was a good time to get a deal.

The research project, now in its third year, asked more than 2,000 consumers about their shopping expectations and habits, providing retailers with insight into the Christmas and holiday trading period.  For Black Friday, consumers generally have lower expectations, with only 16% eager for savings of 50% or more, compared to 18% last year. Similarly, in 2015 52% expected discounts of 30% or less whereas this year, this had increased to 59% – possibly an indication that consumers are moderating their hopes.

In terms of focus, Black Friday looks to be less about Christmas shopping than last year. The proportion of shoppers buying none of their Christmas gifts during the period has risen from 24% to 28%, with those doing all their shopping during the sales dropping from a meagre 3.8% to 2.4%. Instead, the research suggests that consumers are simply bringing their personal purchases forward (46%) or delaying their spend from earlier in the year (30%), with 60% of consumers hoping to get a deal in the electronic goods department, 46% in clothes and 42% in home appliances.

In spite of its more lacklustre growth and weaker appeal, Black Friday is still a starting gun for the Christmas shopping period, with more than a quarter (29%) of consumers saying it is the date on which they begin their festive buying. In fact, by the time Black Friday is over more than half (56%) of consumers will be actively shopping for Christmas.

Guy Chiswick, Managing Director of Webloyalty, Northern Europe commented: “The Black Friday shopping craze has stormed the UK and up to this point had been growing year on year. Our research suggests a slight slowdown and this may be the inevitable fallout as consumer expectations settle down.  There have been a number of stories in the media of dissatisfied customers, queues and tussles in store and it is therefore unsurprising that nearly a third of those interviewed don’t think they will get value for money by bringing their purchases forward.

“Against this backdrop, it is vital that retailers who are hoping to capitalise on Black Friday and drive footfall communicate clearly with consumers that there are real bargains to be found. In addition, retailers need to have a robust sales strategy in place for the whole Christmas shopping period as it seems likely that this year consumers will spread their spending much more evenly.”

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