One quarter of people plan to shop on Black Friday… and top destinations are Amazon, Argos, Asda, Tesco, Currys, Debenhams and John Lewis, new research shows

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With Black Friday just three Fridays away, new research from ICM Unlimited shows almost one quarter (23%) of people plan to buy something on 27 November this year. Seven in 10 (71%) people who bought something on Black Friday last year are planning to shop again this year. So it may be a recent phenomenon, but the deals and one-off special offers on Black Friday do appear to be changing our shopping habits. One fifth (22%) say they will do their Christmas shopping earlier this year to take advantage of the deals on Black Friday.

We know what it is, but not when it is
At 95%, awareness of the term Black Friday is extremely high, and many people know what it is, and that it originated in the US. Fewer, however, know when it is, so retailers will want to remind people that it’s 27 November and it’s soon.

The Black Friday shopping list
At present, 23% of people plan to shop on Black Friday, and 28% haven’t made their mind up yet. 42% of 18–35 years olds are planning to buy, 21% of 35-54 year olds and 9% of those aged 55+. For those who have already made their mind up to shop for bargains on 27 November, there’s a wish list that resembles a “Generation Game” conveyor belt: smartphones, tablets and computers, entertainment, toiletries, beauty and perfume, clothes, shoes and accessories – and toys.

Kate Bewick, associate director at ICM Unlimited, said: “This shopping list suggests people are interested in a far greater variety of items than the very technology-focused products that Black Fridayis sometimes associated with. There is a really good opportunity for retailers of all kinds to take advantage of this annual event and offer discounts and incentives for their customers.”

Most will shop online with an average spend of £266 – but don’t expect a good experience
There is a strong link between Black Friday and online shopping. Almost two thirds (64%) think they will do most of their shopping online, 24% plan a mix of online and in store, and 11% will shop in store only. Wherever they plan to shop, on their keyboard or on their high street or shopping mall, 16% will get up early to take advantage of the deals. Average estimated spend on Black Friday at present is £266, with men planning to spend more than women. To avoid being enticed by offers, a cautious 20% of people have set a budget for their expenditure on 27th November and they won’t exceed it.

The main retailers that people intend to visit are Amazon, Argos, Asda, Tesco, Currys, Debenhams and John Lewis.

Bewick said: “It is interesting to note that consumers don’t actually anticipate a good experience on Black Friday and this is different from their high expectations of retailers for the other 364 shopping days of the year. Many people (57%) told us they will avoid the shops because they think it will be too crowded, and more than one half (54%) expect retailer websites to be slow or not working at all.

“In fact, even those with a bad shopping experience on Black Friday last year aren’t going to be deterred from buying again this year. Despite scenes of long queues, frustrated shoppers and frozen websites overwhelmed with visitors, one half (49%) of those who were dissatisfied on Black Friday in 2014 intend to buy this year. That may be because the offers are just too good to resist.”

Black Friday cynics
Retailers may want to take note that some shoppers are a little cynical about the quality of the offers that will be available at the end of the month. Although 41% agree that there will be genuine bargains available, more people – 65% – feel that Black Friday is a chance for retailers to get rid of unpopular or old stock.