Brits expected to spend £1.9bn as Black Friday kicks off first major weekend of Christmas shopping, Visa Europe reports


£1.9bn will be spent on Visa cards on Friday 27 November – Black Friday – making it the biggest day for spending on this day in history. This year’s event will be driven primarily by the growth in e-commerce, as consumers become more comfortable with using mobiles and tablets to shop on the go. Visa Europe predicts that online transactions will top £721m on the day, up 17% on 2014. There will be a total of 11m online transactions, up 14.5% on 2014.

The discount event will boost footfall on the UK high street as well, with face-to-face transactions predicted to top £1.1bn, up 4% on 2014. There will be a total of 34m face-to-face transactions, up 13% on 2014.

UK consumers will combine a charge to the shops with a “golden hour” of buying on phones, tablets and laptops as consumers have more choice about where and how to buy than ever before. Online, the commuter hour (18:00 – 19:00) will see the highest levels of buying, confirming the growing number of people who think mobile first for shopping. In stores, shopping will peak during the lunch time hour between 13:00 and 14:00.

Black Friday begins what is forecast to be a sustained weekend of Christmas shopping, leading into what has traditionally been the busiest online shopping day of the year, known as Cyber Monday. This year, Cyber Monday will reach a new high too, with £629m to be spent online on 30 November.

In 2014, retailers capitalised on the Black Friday phenomenon, making it the biggest event in the history of the UK, though the busiest shopping day overall continued to be during the week before Christmas.

Visa bases its predictions on up to the minute spending data and previous years’ Christmas spending trends. Over £1 in every £3 in the UK is spent on a Visa card, making this data the most reliable indicator of trends in consumer spending.

Kevin Jenkins, managing director UK & Ireland at Visa Europe, said: “This is shaping up to be a huge weekend, online and in-store, for retailers. We’re looking at a combined £1.9bn being spent on Black Friday as retailers discount across both mediums.

“It will be a tale of two different golden hours on the day. On the high street, we’ll see a huge lunchtime rush. Online, the commuter hour will see the highest levels of buying, confirming the growing number of people who think mobile first for shopping. Further developments in online and mobile payment security this year should drive further confidence to shop this way too.

“Black Friday’s growth is really coming online in particular – that’s where this year’s surge is going to come from. It’s also firmly become the bigger brother to the more traditional Cyber Monday. The last paycheque of the year will still send shoppers online on Monday 30 November though, to the tune of £630m.

“Ultimately, shoppers have more choice about where and how to buy than ever before. We think in multi-channel terms, browsing on one platform but often buying elsewhere. Our research confirms this: 74% of UK consumers browse online before buying in-store. The opposite is true as well: 40% browse in-store and then buy on mobile. Online or offline, shoppers expect retailers to know who they are and provide a more personalised experience. Retailers who capitalise on this trend and offer a seamless experience will likely enjoy a stronger Christmas.”