Good news for retailers as one in four shoppers plan to spend more on Black Friday bargains this year – new KPMG UK research reveals

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British bargain hunters are bracing themselves for Black Friday sales events this week with one in four shoppers (24%) planning to spend more this year than last, according to new research by KPMG UK. 

The research by OnePoll surveyed 2,000 consumers about their spending intentions for the Black Friday promotion period due to start this week. It found that 11% of Brits surveyed are planning to spend significantly more during the Black Friday sales period than they did last year. 

According to the research, 15% of consumers are planning to use the annual sales event to make the bulk of their Christmas shopping purchases. 

Looking to save money on gifts was the primary driver for over half (51%) of Black Friday shoppers, particularly for consumers in the 55–64-year-old age bracket, however getting hold of must have items before Christmas was a key driver for younger consumers (18–24-year-olds). Of those consumers planning to engage with Black Friday sales, 42% said they were planning to purchase gifts for others, with a third (34%) looking to purchase treats for themselves. 

Technology, clothing, and beauty items are the most sought-after Black Friday bargains, with consumers choosing to both browse and shop mostly online for good deals (32%).  

Commenting on the findings, Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, said: “As rising inflation starts to impact household spending, it’s not surprising that saving money is the primary driver for older consumers, whilst younger shoppers are more focussed on getting must have items quickly. With challenging trading conditions continuing for retailers, they will be hoping that the one in four consumers planning to increase their spending during the key Black Friday period this year will lead to overall higher seasonal sales. 
“Retailers are facing a tough balancing act this year.  As rising costs start to bite hard into margins and supply chain issues impact the availability of goods, it leaves very little room for the mega discounting events we have seen in previous years.“Technology continues to dominate, both in the top items that consumers are looking for and the way in which they are choosing to browse and shop over Black Friday. For many consumers, shopping online has now become a choice and a habit. With our recent Customer Excellence Experience report evealing 56% of brand interactions now are digital, the winners in the battle for the Christmas pound will be those retailers that have invested heavily in their digital and delivery capabilities.”

Supply chain issues spur one in four Christmas shoppers to buy early 

Whilst Black Friday bargain hunters are more than happy to wait for the best deals, a quarter of the 2000 consumers surveyed (26%) claim reports of supply chain issues and stock availability have impacted their Christmas shopping plans this year.  This rises to 45% among younger consumers (18–24-year-olds).  

A quarter of consumers (24%) claim that they have already completed the bulk of their Christmas shopping, with 28% claiming they shop early to spread the cost of Christmas, and 27% shopping early to secure the gifts they really want this year. 

A third of shoppers (28%) will shop nearer Christmas, with 16% planning to grab last minute Christmas bargains. Men were most likely to leave Christmas shopping to the last minute, with one in five choosing to leave their shopping to the days before Christmas. 

Recent coverage of environmental issues has altered shopping attitudes of one in three consumers this year according to the research. Half (54%) of environmentally aware consumers claim they will only shop from brands or companies that have a good ethical and environmental practices.  Men and young consumers (18–24-year-olds) were mostly likely to consider the environmental reputation of the retailers they were purchasing from. 

Ellett added: “Issues with supply chain have been well documented with many retailers warning consumers that once it’s gone, it’s gone. With staff shortages impacting delivery firms and postal services, savvy shoppers have decided to shop early to secure the gifts that they really want this year. Retailers will need to continue to be clear in their communication on what is and is not possible this year. Any failure to keep shoppers happy, particularly those shopping online, by not meeting their expectations could see them lose hard won new customers in what is a very competitive environment. 

“Despite much profile around environmental issues following COP26, more than half (56%) of British consumers are not planning to change the way they shop for Christmas this year.  The campaign around sustainable shopping in many instances cannot compete with the focus for many consumers on price and availability of must have Christmas gifts.

“The increased focus on ESG is a priority for all retailers trying to embed long-term social and environmental commitments across everything they do.  Whilst greater profile around environmental issues has prompted more strategic and planned purchases with mostly younger consumers, it continues to be an issue that is going to have to cut through with greater numbers of consumers, if we are going to meet our environmental commitments in the long term.”