UK shoppers to spend more this Black Friday despite interest in the day splitting opinion

Nov 20, 2019

  • UK shoppers to spend more this Black Friday despite interest in the day splitting opinion
  • Black Friday polarises opinion amongst UK shoppers - only half of consumers are either interested or planning to buy something, fewer than every other country reviewed
  • But UK consumers plan to spend 11% more than last year, an average of £224
  • There continues to be a gender divide with men planning to spend a third more than women and being more likely to treat themselves (77%)
  • It remains a key shopping event for electricals with over half of UK shoppers planning to buy the latest tech

Just over half (52%) of UK consumers are either interested or plan to buy something during Black Friday [Friday 29 November] according to research from PwC. UK shoppers also plan to spend around 11% more than last year, an average of £224, as the global retail event hits the high street at the end of this month.

The results, which come from a PwC survey that also charts the opinions of consumers in France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and South Africa, shows that UK consumers are increasingly cynical about Black Friday deals. In fact, consumers in every other country are more enthusiastic about Black Friday than the UK, with over 80% of those in France (81%), Ireland (84%) and South Africa (88%) either interested or planning to buy something.

Conversely, of those in the UK likely to spend less this year, almost a third believe that the deals aren’t exciting, while 20% believe that deals aren’t actually genuine. Under 25 year olds are particularly unimpressed by Black Friday, with the lowest projected spend of just £111, an 11% decline on last year.

Amongst those hoping to find a bargain, this year’s average planned spend is up £21 (to £224), with 35-44 year-olds planning to spend the most (up £32 to £288). Around the UK, Londoners are planning to spend the most (an average of £326), twice more than Scottish consumers (£155).

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said:

"While it’s become a firm fixture in the retail calendar, Black Friday is perhaps also the most polarising. We’re seeing growing scepticism towards the event, with nearly half of respondents claiming to be uninterested in Black Friday promotions, or avoiding it altogether.

"Some consumers doubt the quality of the deals on offer, with many seeing them as not especially good value or not worthy of interest, and this is likely to have been exacerbated as Black Friday deals have spread to the whole of “Blackvember”.

"This situation creates an interesting conundrum for retailers, who still need to serve the 52% of consumers who are looking forward to Black Friday for deals, or as an integral way of saving money for Christmas without alienating those not interested.

"Retailers clearly can’t ignore the event and do not want to risk losing out to rivals, but they need to manage it smartly and inject newness (and reasons to shop at full price) during the peak Christmas trading weeks. And for certain retailers, such as those in the electricals and technology sector, Black Friday is a non-negotiable.”

The survey also found an increasing gender divide in attitudes to Black Friday, with men planning to spend a third more than women (£254 vs. £191), and men most likely to be planning to buy something for themselves (77%), while women primarily intend to spend on their families (71%).

By far the most popular purchases are expected to be in electricals and technology, with over half of all Black Friday shoppers and over two thirds of men, aiming to find a bargain in these categories. This is true in other countries such as Germany (56%), Ireland and South Africa (55%).

However, consumers internationally are more interested in fashion, which is the top category of interest for the French (53%) and the Dutch (46%), and the second most popular category in Germany (44%), Ireland (42%) and South Africa (49%). In comparison, fewer than a third of UK shoppers (29%) say they’re on the look out for fashion bargains, which is significantly lower than the 45% who said this last year.

Having said this, a number of UK fashion retailers have mentioned that following a slow September month for clothing attributed to unseasonably warm weather, they will be offering some good discounts across Black Friday which may entice customers to spend more on this category.


Notes to editors

  1. The report is based on an online survey of over 10,000 adults from across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Germany, the Netherlands and France. The survey was conducted in October 2019. The UK numbers are unweighted.

  2. Regional and demographic breakdowns are available on request

  3. For more information, visit the website


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