Black Friday fails to change Christmas shopping habits, commerce agency Ampersand finds

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Sixty-three per cent of shoppers in Great Britain bought items for themselves on Black Friday, 30% did this whilst buying Christmas gifts for others, according to YouGov online research commissioned by commerce agency Ampersand. A third only bought items for themselves and less than a third (30%) bought gifts solely for others. This counters the view that Black Friday has brought the Christmas retail calendar forward, as many may still have the bulk of their Christmas shopping to do.

The overall popularity of Black Friday amongst British shoppers is in question with 73% not taking part at all this year. Of those that were surveyed:

  •  21% bought items online
  •  8% bought items in-store

“UK retailers are divided over whether Black Friday is a good thing. Some, such as Next and Jigsaw, ignored it altogether this year. What’s for certain is that online it is still a big deal, with 25% of retailers suffering website downtime due to traffic spikes, according to our research, despite the instore experience being a little muted this year,” said Darryl Adie, managing director of Ampersand. “Initially we thought that the growing popularity of Black Friday in the UK was changing the shape of the Christmas retail calendar, with many beginning their gift shopping earlier. However, instead it seems to be more of a self-indulgent day for British shoppers with more choosing to treat themselves.

“Ahead of Christmas, retailers should ensure delivery and returns information is clear and easily accessible, as well as optimising gifting categories. Also, whilst it may be tempting to gather data during the Christmas period and use it throughout the year, retailers must remember that data gathered over Christmas only gives insights into the behaviour of shoppers during the festive period and may not be applicable year-round.”

Londoners are the most selfish, with almost half (49%) buying items solely for themselves. Across the country 42% of males shopped for themselves compared to 27% of females that didn’t shop for others. When it comes to flash sales, 25-34 year olds are the most benevolent demographic, with 37% only buying gifts for others.