New research from pricing specialists Simon-Kucher (www.simon-kucher.com) into UK consumers shows that Black Friday is a big turn-off for shoppers, bad news for the high street and of dubious overall benefit to all but a few online businesses.
James Brown, Head of UK Consumer Goods and Retail division at Simon-Kucher, said:
“Black Friday has quickly established itself as the biggest shopping day of the year since it arrived only five years ago, and many retailers will report stellar headline sales figures next week as a result of slashing prices for Black Friday.
“However, anyone can boost sales temporarily by selling £20 notes for ten pounds. Many retailers will make little profit from their discounts and some will even inadvertently make a loss from such promotions – although will take a while to realise it as the sales numbers will look good at first glance.
“While many retailers feel compelled to join in and offer discounts, our research indicates that the retail sector would be much better off if Black Friday was consigned to history.
“We’re not expecting the current tribulations about Brexit and the UK potentially leaving with no deal to have a negative impact on spending this Black Friday, or December either. Our recent research into consumers shows that any concern will largely feed through into fewer large purchases of large items such as cars and holidays, rather than day-to-day items such as food, clothes and presents.
“However, negative economic sentiment does make people more concerned about getting value for money, which may even boost people using Black Friday to save money. Over the next few months the coverage about a negative impact from a “no deal” will definitely help discounters like Aldi, Lidl and Poundland.”
Key findings from Simon-Kucher’s research (conducted in October 2018 in over 2,000 UK adults on its behalf by accredited market research agency Censuswide) found that:
45% of the adult population say they have NEVER shopped for discounts on Black Friday, and a further 11% rarely bother with it. The older someone is, the less likely they are to bother with Black Friday – two-thirds of people (68%) over 55-years-old say they have never shopped for Black Friday discounts compared to only 27% for those under 35-years.
Black Friday hurts the high street, with a quarter of people (24%) saying they will go to the shops LESS on this impending Black Friday weekend, while only 11% are more likely to go.
Last year 28% of adults bought Black Friday bargains – half of them (14% of all adults) spent under £100. Only 8% of the adult population felt the bargains tempted them to spend “much more than I expected to”.
63% of people feel “Black Friday overall has little impact on what I buy and what I spend” while only 15% feel “Black Friday causes me to spend more money overall because the bargains mean I buy things I would not otherwise buy”
46% of adults who go Black Friday bargain hunting will shop around to make sure they get the lowest price. But a third (34%) prefer to buy from shops and online retailers they already use and trust (even if not the cheapest)
44% of people admit to shopping online while at work… but only 8% say they will do it more than normal on Black Friday!
Shoppers are equivocal about whether Black Friday bargains make them feel better about retailers. 19% of people think retailers that do NOT offer Black Friday bargains “are probably already offering good value for money, and I would continue to shop there” (while only 12% feel no Black Friday bargains “makes me question if they offer good value for money, and I might shop there less often in the future”).
James Brown added: “Far from helping retailers, Black Friday largely helps dedicated bargain hunters, who end up spending less for things they would have bought anyway, such as Christmas presents, clothes and household items.
“Where Black Friday could help retailers is by re-focusing on the event and creating an exciting retail experience on the day – but many now instead stretch it out into a week or even a month-long “event” of lower prices but little else.
“By contrast, Black Friday does nothing for customer loyalty and also has now conditioned people to expect discounts ahead of Christmas, compared to the recent past when retailers held out from offering bargains until the January sales.”