£7.8bn to be spent by Britons this weekend, online continues growth curve

If you’ve got Black Friday survey fatigue already, then look away now, because here come two more, both predicting a sales boom over the four-day ‘weekend’ and for the other days around Black Friday.


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A study from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and online voucher marketplace VoucherCodes is forecasting a £7.8 billion sales bonanza from Friday though Monday with turnover set to rise 7% year-on-year.

UK retailers are bracing themselves for a record-breaking weekend as the research also reveals that £2.6 billion of this spend is expected to happen on Friday itself across both physical stores and online.

Meanwhile, taking a closer look at online activity, real estate adviser Colliers International is predicting that Black Friday week e-sales should total £7 billion, which is as much as 164% higher than the figure of just three years ago. 
But what’s also interesting is that this figure means Black Friday sales will be 77% higher than those on Boxing Day (December 26), which for decades was the kick-off point for stores to launch discounts.

The proportion of Britons shopping on Boxing Day has steadily declined since Black Friday’s arrival in the UK in 2013. By 2015, only 32% shopped on Boxing Day but in 2016 that was down even further to 23%.

Mark Phillipson, Head of Retail at Colliers International said: “Black Friday is evolving into a week-long plus event in the UK. We’ve seen a build-up of sales which we expect to peak on Friday. This is also a period in the year when retailers should be at full margins but, essentially, they are giving away some of their profits in order to compete for a higher share of consumer spending. However, there is degree of consumer scepticism as to whether any of the deals are actually any better than in standard sale periods, so in reality, it would also seem that Black Friday has just turned into a marketing event craze.”

The research also reveals that Black Friday is becoming much more of an online event since the violent scenes witnessed at a number of physical stores in 2014. Greater smartphone use, plus faster, bigger smartphones, and retailers investments in websites and apps have all encouraged online purchasing, denting store footfall over the last two years.

Mark Charlton, Head of UK Research at Colliers International added: “Black Friday is having a significant impact on consumer spending patterns, causing a sharper spike in sales earlier on in the Christmas run-up. In general, we expect the online sales increase to continue, with weaker footfall on the day itself and a higher surge in online traffic.

“Historically there has been a much more gradual increase in sales in the six weeks prior to Christmas however what we are now witnessing is a potential decrease in consumer spending in the New Year sales due to the possibility of customers suffering from ‘sales' fatigue.”

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