3 months to Black Friday: consumer spending set to increase despite cost-of-living concerns

3 months to Black Friday: consumer spending set to increase despite cost-of-living concerns

One in five (22 per cent) UK consumers will increase their Black Friday spend from 2021 levels despite the cost-of-living crisis, with one in ten (10 per cent) using the occasion to complete most of their Christmas shopping, according to a new study of 2,000 shoppers by omnichannel engagement platform Emarsys.

According to the research, the average UK consumer is expected to spend £283 over the Black Friday weekend – a 25 per cent increase from £226 in 2021. There’s a recognition that Black Friday is an opportunity to make big savings even without a specific purchase in mind: 21 per cent don’t know what they’ll buy, but still plan to take advantage of the sales in some form.

As we enter the three-month countdown to the big day, the intent to increase spending may come as a surprise given the financial challenges facing UK consumers. However, Emarsys’ research indicates that consumers are spending more discerningly to maximise their value-for-money. Seeking the biggest discounts (27 per cent) and taking advantage of free returns (25 per cent) are the most significant drivers for Black Friday spend.

This strategic approach extends to the channels that consumers will use to make purchases. While online purchases (53 per cent) naturally lead the way, almost three in ten (29 per cent) consumers also plan to shop in-store — and COVID has become a consideration of the past for many, as only 6 per cent will avoid brick-and-mortar stores due to COVID-19 concerns. All of this suggests that digital and physical retail are increasingly seen as two sides of the same coin, with consumers making the most of the deals by looking in both locations.

Some reticence to spend remains, however, with 21 per cent of UK consumers planning to decrease their Black Friday spending. The global cost-of-living crisis is the motivation for more than half (52 per cent) of these conservative spenders, with cutting down on unneeded purchases (33 per cent) and rising inflation (32 per cent) the next most common reasons for reduced spending.

“The global pandemic, and associated lockdowns, didn’t just introduce millions of consumers to eCommerce, but also to strategic spending,” commented Sara Richter, CMO, Emarsys. “Shoppers have been forced to navigate tough scenarios with limited funds; financial concerns this year have resulted in a higher level of planning ahead to secure the best deals during the Black Friday sales period.

“This research sends a clear message to brands that they need to prepare for Black Friday earlier than ever this year and build a strategy that cuts through the noise, helping them beat the competition to drive customer growth and revenue. Given the volume of competition this Christmas, personalised marketing tactics are essential. For the best possible Black Friday, brands will understand the behaviours, preferences, and concerns of consumers as individuals, showing an understanding of exactly what, and how, they want to buy.”


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