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Black Friday vs Christmas shopping: what’s happening in retail

By Chris Dawson November 27, 2019 - 8:00 pm

Pricesearcher surveyed 1,000 UK adults regarding Black Friday with startling revelations and mismatches between customer and retailer expectations both over the Black Friday period and Christmas shopping.

2019 has continued the trend of beloved high street chains going into administration such as Thomas Cook, Forever21 and Mothercare. It is of little surprise when 30% of our survey respondents intend to make Christmas purchases during Black Friday. Decaying retailer profitability when traditionally retailers were able to sell items full price.

Women prove to be the most organised with 57% intending to make purchases exclusively for Christmas.

An increasing trend of 18 to 35 year olds are being conditioned to buy discounted items as Christmas presents. Exacerbating this Christmas shopping trend is 35% of adults expressing an opinion that Black Friday deals are superior to Boxing Day sales.

Once an American tradition, 85% of UK retailers now feel pressured to participate in Black Friday despite knowing it’ll have an adverse impact on annual revenues.

This year, we’re seeing for the first-time retailers including John Lewis, House of Fraser, Amazon and Currys PC World launch their Black Friday promotions a week before Black Friday. With discounted goods available over a longer period, are retailers putting themselves under too much pressure?

With high street footfall in decline, fewer UK shoppers jostle to the front of the line ahead of a store opening on Black Friday and 75% of under 35’s will purchase exclusively online, avoiding the high street altogether.

But what can be done to help customers enjoy genuine Black Friday deals and retailers a financially healthier festive period?

Tips for retailers over the festive period

  1. Do not promote too early, 84% of people do less than one day’s research.
  2. 46% will visit the store either to make purchases of click and collect – offer an in-store incentive on subsequent purchases redeemable in December.
  3. Know your audience: younger customers expect you to have a Black Friday offering whereas older customers expect more from Boxing Day sales.
  4. Ensure your website can cope with a surge of online visitors and transactions, and you have adequate staff to assist customers.
  5. Pay attention to stock levels and try to merchandise products where know you can fulfil click and collect delivery preferences.

Tips for customers Black Friday Christmas shopping

  1. Be fastidious and use price comparison sites with price history functionality to gauge how authentic are the deals.
  2. Consider any hidden costs such as shipping or return policies, some retailers will not offer a refund and only issue credit notes.
  3. Shop around and do not act only on what has been merchandised on the homepage from your favourite retailer; there are deals to be found when you scratch beneath the surface.
  4. Keep an eye on your finances ensuring you’re not overspending; set yourself a strict budget.

“2019 will be the UKs biggest year for discounting. There has never been a better time to save money on their Christmas purchases. The prolonged period of sales from Black Friday concluding in January means there are more opportunities to pay less for the products they know and love. Retailers can ride this new trend capitalising on the festive trading period using their data to better understand customer behaviours and ensure deal hunters are retained for December purchases.“
– Samuel Dean, Founder & CEO, Pricesearcher

  • James
    6 months ago

    ….launch their Black Friday promotions a week before Black Friday. With discounted goods available over a longer period, are retailers putting themselves under too much pressure?

    Where did your logic behind this come from? This year BF is as late as it can be and we all know many buyers wait until BF to make big purchases with the hope of a BF discount.
    So waiting until actual BF to start promo activity simply shortens the Xmas sales period, which puts considerable pressure on retailers (logistically). i.e you have to do what would have been 5 weeks of sales last year in 4 weeks this year.

    So, by virtue of the date that BF falls on this year, it was inevitable that retailers would start early.

    Personally as a retailer I wish BF would do one. I like the addition of Prime day earlier in the year as this is at a time where many sectors need a welcome boost.

    However BF has simply created a mess with how buyers purchase for Christmas and in Q4 full stop. Plus we all now know that most of the deals are crap, they are not worthy off the cuff discounts – they are simply pre-engineered promotions designed by the retailer and manufacturer throughout the year specifically for the event.

  • 6 months ago

    Good shout James….

  • SAM
    6 months ago

    We have been selling like daft now, but this is just rubbish everything crammed into such a short period of time. We are not doing any sales or deals it is the increased traffic as everyone waits for this fake sale event.

    . Problem is people fall for all the Black Friday nonsense and Which said the Amazon Echo had been cheaper 53 times this year already just shows you it is all fake and manufactured. The whole thing has killed a 3 month peak trading period into like 3 weeks.

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