Black Friday was a debt disaster

On Black Friday we got it all wrong - buying on a whim, spending too much, and going into debt

Black Friday

Black Friday spending figures have revealed that we cannot be trusted with a massive sale this close to Christmas. Instead of taking the opportunity to shop wisely and save a fortune on Christmas presents, we have blown the budget - and gone into debt.

Opinium Research found that almost a third of people hit the sales hard - with 81% buying online and 35% shopping in store. Those who hit the shops spent an average of £41 (£63 in London), while those who shopped online spent £92. One in ten of all sale shoppers spent £200.

Strategic failure

The figures continue to get more worrying the deeper you delve. The vast majority of people did no planning at all, so when they got to the shops they had no idea what their priorities were, or whether the 'bargains' offered value for money.

Only 22% of men and 16% of women checked out what was on offer before hitting the shops. And only one in five men and one in ten women had an overall plan as to where they planned to shop and how much they had to spend. That means nine out of ten women just showed up and grabbed items on a whim.

Just under one in six people succumbed to temptation and bought something they wouldn't have purchased on any other day, and one in ten bought something that they ended up having to return (that rises to one in three in London).


Even more alarmingly, 1.4 million people went into debt in order to buy something on the day. Young people were particularly likely to borrow to go shopping on Black Friday, and 15% of those aged 18-34 said they put their shopping on a card.

It's no wonder that so many commentators are concerned at the effects of Black Friday. They point out that lending to consumers has now reached its highest level since before the banking crisis, and that there has been a prolonged surge in the use of credit cards and personal loans.


In fact, a separate piece of research found that Brits are worse than any other member of the G7 for spending beyond our means. Property Partner found that British households were the only ones to spend more than they earned last year - overspending by 1.9% of our income. The French meanwhile actually managed to save 9.6% of their income and the Germans 9.5%.

The same study showed that we spent a higher proportion of our income on Christmas than anyone else in the G7 - by quite some margin. We spent 2.6%, compared to the Spanish and Russians who spent 0.6%, Germany at 1.1% and France at 1.3%.

Dan Gandesha, CEO of Property Partner, said: "Instead of fixing the roof while the sun shines, we seem to be partying like it's 2007. A worrying cycle of overspending and under-saving is repeating itself. British households aren't saving enough and the last few days show that we have a short memory. We are edging dangerously towards a borrowing boom through unsecured personal loans, while loading up more debt on our credit cards."

So how did you do in the sales? Did you steer clear, did you buy sensible bargains, or are you regretting at least one of your purchases? Let us know in the comments.

Black Friday chaos

Black Friday chaos

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