Black Friday spending set to hit record £9.148bn – new VoucherCodes Shopping for Christmas report reveals

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Shoppers are set to spend a record £9.148bn this Black Friday Weekend, according to a new report.

The VoucherCodes Shopping for Christmas 2021 report forecasts retailers’ best Black Friday Weekend on record. Sales are expected to surpass the pre-pandemic record of £8.566bn seen in 2019 by 6.8%, as shoppers take full advantage of bumper discounts on offer between Black Friday (26th November) and Cyber Monday (29th November). 

This Black Friday Weekend is expected to look drastically different to last year’s, during which the UK was under a second national lockdown put in place on 2nd November to combat rising cases of Covid-19. In good news for retailers, sales across each of the four Black Friday Weekend days are forecast to outperform those of Black Friday Weekend 2019.

UK Black Friday Weekend sales 2019 – 2020 actuals & 2021 forecast

Sales (£ millions)Growth (year-on-year)
Retail sales 2019Retail sales 2020Retail sales forecast 2021YoY growth 2018 – 2019YoY growth 2019 – 2020YoY growth forecast 2020 – 2021
Friday £2,527£2,782£3,3853.4%10.1%21.7%
Saturday & Sunday£3,000£2,305£2,4244.2%-23.2%5.2%
Monday £3,039£2,862£3,3392.6%-5.8%16.7%
Total£8,566£7,949£9,1483.4%-7.2%15.1%

Across the four-day promotional weekend, sales are set to peak on Black Friday itself, during which consumers are forecast to spend £3.385bn, equating to £3.38m every minute. This figure is a 21.7% increase on 2020’s Black Friday sales (£2.782bn). 

For the first time since 2019, non-essential retail stores will be open for in-store promotions this Black Friday. Despite this, online sales are still expected to make up the lion’s share of profits with £5.738bn worth of goods set to be purchased online over the course of Black Friday Weekend – 62.7% of total sales over the four days.  In a sign that consumers have adapted their shopping behaviour long term as a result of the pandemic, the online share of Black Friday Weekend spend is forecast to be up compared to 2020 even though non-essential retail will be open this year. In 2020, 60% of sales from the four day Cyber Weekend happened online, making up a total of £4.770bn – 17% less than the forecast 2021 spend.

However, there is still good news for the high street. In-store retailers should also be poised for a lucrative Black Friday, as offline sales are set to see growth for the first Black Friday since 2018. In-store sales are set to reach £3.411bn across the weekend, a 7.3% increase on 2020. However, despite the worst of the pandemic behind us, in-store sales will struggle to reach pre-pandemic levels this Black Friday Weekend, falling short of the £4.795bn made in 2019.

Online and offline sales across Black Friday Weekend: 2019 and 2020 actuals and 2021 forecast

Online salesSales (£ millions)Growth (year-on-year)
Retail sales 2019Retail sales 2020Retail sales forecast 2021YoY growth 2018 – 2019YoY growth 2019 – 2020YoY growth forecast 2020 – 2021
Friday£1,141£1,645£2,23810%50.5%30.3%
Saturday & Sunday£1,105£1,335£1,3207%20.9%-1.2%
Monday £1,525£1,789£2,1808%26.5%27%
Total£3,771£4,770£5,7388.3%26.5%20.3%
Offline salesSales (£ millions)Growth (year-on-year)
Retail sales 2019Retail sales 2020Retail sales forecast 2021YoY growth 2018 – 2019YoY growth 2019 – 2020YoY growth forecast 2020 – 2021
Friday £1,386£1,065£1,147-1.5%-23.1%7.7%
Saturday & Sunday £1,895£970£1,1052.7%-48.8%13.9%
Monday £1,514£1,145£1,159-2.4%-24.4%1.2%
Total£4,795£3,180£3,411-0.2%-33.7%7.3%

Angus Drummond, senior director, commercial at VoucherCodes, comments: “This report will come as welcome news for the retail industry after a very difficult Black Friday in 2020, particularly for retailers who usually rely heavily on in-store promotions.

“This year it appears that shopper appetite for a good deal is stronger than ever, which comes as no surprise as the financial impacts of the pandemic begin to take their toll. We anticipate many people will shop with purpose this Black Friday, ready with lists of Christmas must-haves, looking to make important savings and beat the rush on getting those all important Christmas gifts.  As such, we recommend retailers focus on driving awareness of their best offers in the lead up to Black Friday, in order to reach shoppers early in their customer journey.”