Black Friday cannibalises traditional Christmas shopping habits, says KPMG

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Ahead of Black Friday 2016, KPMG highlights the impact the discount extravaganza is having on the traditional Christmas shopping period in the UK, with the sales typically noted in December now seemingly being cannibalised by the purchases being made in late November.

With Black Friday growing in popularity in the UK, it now marks a key moment in the retail calendar. Last year’s sales were record breaking, exceeding £1bn in just 24 hours and the whole weekend of activity – including Cyber Monday – netted over £3.3bn.

Evidence of purchases being brought forward from December to November can be found with KPMG analysis of Office of National Statistics (ONS) monthly retail sales figures. The analysis reveals that in 2015,2.6% of non-food retail sales shifted from December to November when compared to 2013.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “With the whole Black Friday weekend now marking the largest shopping weekend in the UK, it’s hard to believe that the event was only widely adopted by us back in 2013. You could also be forgiven for assuming that consumers might be spending more as a result of Black Friday, but in reality it is likely they are just spending earlier.

“As the shopping event has become more prevalent across the UK, it is clear that the traditional Christmas shopping period has been distorted by an extended trading period that now starts earlier than it used to. However, it is important to remember that British consumers have been binging on a diet of discounts for some time, so this movement can’t purely be attributed to Black Friday.

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Data source: ONS: predominantly non-food retail sales including non-store sales, less fuel sales for 2013 and 2015

“For retailers, it has always been questionable whether Black Friday really benefits them in the long-run, and in the current environment of rising costs and squeezed margins – perhaps it’s even more so. This year some retailers have decided not to partake, whilst others have spread their offers out over a longer period in order to ease pressure on logistics and IT infrastructure.”