Shoppers forecast to set Black Friday spending record despite political uncertainty

UK consumers are predicted to spend a record amount on Black Friday despite intensifying political uncertainty, figures suggest.

Shoppers are forecast to spend £2.53 billion on November 29, 3.4% more than last year, and £8.57 billion over the four days including Cyber Monday, according to a report by the Centre for Retail Research for VoucherCodes.co.uk.

Spending in the UK is predicted to be the highest in Europe – 29% higher than second-highest Germany and more than Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands combined.

Source: The Centre for Retail Research/VoucherCodes.co.uk
Source: The Centre for Retail Research/VoucherCodes.co.uk

However, consumers can expect to see many retailers stretch out their discount period for a full two weeks, according to the report, with shoppers predicted to spend a total of £29.57 billion on deals over the 14 days.

VoucherCodes said consumers were increasingly opting to stay away from “manic” stores to shop online instead, with sales expected to grow by 8.3% on last year and in-store forecasts dropping by 0.2%.

Anita Naik, from VoucherCodes, said: “Even with concerns over consumer confidence due to Brexit and the upcoming General Election, it looks as though enthusiasm for Black Friday is showing no sign of slowing down in the UK, with total spend up 3.4% on 2018.

“Black Friday falls slightly later in November this year, so there’s a possibility this will create a greater sense of urgency among shoppers to get their Christmas shopping done over the deal-filled weekend.”

However, separate research by Gumtree suggests 58% of British shoppers could ignore the sales this year, reducing spending by £805 million.

Almost half (45%) of those polled said they wanted to avoid unnecessary purchases and 26% reported spending less so as not to contribute to “mindless consumerism”.

Almost one in 10 (9%) are actively avoiding the sales in order to be more sustainable, according to the survey.

Fergus Campbell, from Gumtree, said: “Interestingly, the research revealed that thinking sustainably is an equal motivator as saving money during these peak sales periods, suggesting more Britons are looking at ways to reduce their impact on the planet.”

More than 300 predominantly French clothing brands are asking shoppers not to buy anything in the Black Friday sales because of environmental reasons.

The Make Friday Green Again collective says discount deals encourage people to purchase things they do not need, arguing that “overproduction” contributes to climate change.

Instead, it wants shoppers to spend November 29 this year looking in their wardrobes for items they can repair, sell or recycle.

Opinium surveyed 2,002 UK adults for Gumtree from November 8-11.

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