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

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Pricesearcher.com the UK’s largest product shopper site surveyed 1,000 UK adults regarding Black Friday with startling revelations and mismatches between customer and retailer expectations.

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 being conditioned to buy discounted items as Christmas presents. Exacerbating this 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 over Black Friday

  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. Shoparoundanddonotactonlyonwhathasbeenmerchandisedonthe 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.

Founder & CEO of Pricesearcher.com, Samuel Dean: “2019 will be the UKs biggest year for discounting. There has never been a better time to save money on Christmas purchases. The prolonged period of sales from Black Friday concluding in January means there are more opportunities to pay less for the products people 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.“