Black Friday looms for Northern Ireland - but only if the price is right

Northern Ireland shoppers are the canniest in the UK when it comes to planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping deals, according to a survey from PwC.

A survey of UK adults found that 41% of Northern Ireland shoppers would be interested in purchasing on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but only if they got a good deal, That compares with 32% nationwide, although 30% of local shoppers said they either plan to avoided the events completely or just aren’t interested.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotional weekend is an import from America’s Thanksgiving weekend sales and fall on Friday 24 November and Monday 27. November respectively According to PwC, this year’s retail activities will be most popular with the younger generation of shoppers. Over two-thirds (70%) of shoppers under 25 say they are interested in participating in the forthcoming weekend’s sales. 

Across the UK, Londoners intend to spend the most - an average of almost £300 - whilst close to half of shoppers in Northern Ireland (44%), will spend between £101 and £250, although 12% of local bargain hunters say they will spend up to £500. Around 60% of local people who plan to buy anything, say they will shop primarily for themselves, although 66% say that are also planning to purchase something for family members. UK-wide, respondents said they would shop primarily for the family.

Northern Ireland people are the UK’s top-shoppers for technology and electricals, with 67% of Northern Ireland shoppers who intend to part with their money over the Black Friday weekend saying they’ll spend most on tech. That’s more than the other regions like the West Midlands (38%), and even London (44%), with half of shoppers (50%) across the UK looking for bargains in technology and electrical.


Paul Terrington, PwC regional chairman in Northern Ireland and head of UK regions said:


“Technology and electrical items are in demand this Black Friday weekend and retailers who specialise in these areas are already promoting their Black Friday promotions. However, the trend to online shopping will remain a challenge for conventional bricks- and-mortar retailers.


“UK shoppers are increasingly willing to part with their money on Black Friday and we expect the fastest spending growth to come from younger shoppers, who are more likely to purchase on impulse. If retailers do their research and promote the right products at the right prices, they should once again see strong sales.”


Key survey findings include:

  • 82% of Black Friday spending will be done online or by mobile, with only 18% of purchases being made in store. 
  • Shoppers said Black Friday is more about buying things for family (70%) than presents for themselves (63%).
  • Only 20% of overall UK Black Friday spending is expected to be on Christmas presents, so retailers still have all to play for in December.
  • Northern Ireland shoppers are top UK toy buyers – 29% plan to buy toys compared to 19% across the UK.

PwC says that many Black Friday sales have already begun and will extend past the weekend, turning into 'Black Fortnight' in some sectors. While perhaps due in part to subdued October sales, it also reflects more planned promotions over this period. 

However, the latest edition of the consumer magazine Which, warns that not all Black Friday deals are what they appear. Which tracked the prices of 35 of last year’s tech, home and personal care products over a year and found that 60% of the products were at the same price or cheaper at other times in the year.

Nonetheless, observers still expect another year of Black Friday sales growth in the UK. However, it does fall comparatively early this year, before pay day for many consumers, which may present a cashflow issue for some shoppers and could result in slightly more muted growth.


Paul Terrington said:


“The first few weeks of Christmas shopping in December will still be vital for retailers who will need to carefully manage their stock, IT systems and delivery infrastructure to deal with both shopping periods.


“Black Friday does have the potential to cannibalise the January sales, a shopping period more traditionally used by consumers to buy items for themselves - something shoppers may now be bringing forward to November.”




Notes to editors:

The report is based on an online survey of over 2,000 adults from across the United Kingdom. The survey was conducted by Opinium for PwC in November 2017 and the sample has been weighted to reflect a nationally representative audience.

Contact us

John Compton
Corporate Affairs, Northern Ireland and Deputy Head of UK Media Relations, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)7799 346 925

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